President Biden is set to have a virtual meeting with Mexican President Manuel López Obrador, who reportedly is expected to ask about sharing U.S. COVID-19 vaccine supply with Mexico. At a press briefing at the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if Biden would agree to Obrador’s request, which she replied with a quick, “no.”
“The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are accessible to every American. That is our focus,” Psaki said at a press briefing. “The next step is economic recovery and ensuring that our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, have similarly managed the pandemic so that we can open our borders and build back better.”
“But our focus, his focus, the administration’s focus, is making sure every American is vaccinated, and when we accomplish that objective, we’re happy to discuss further steps beyond that,” Psaki said.
López Obrador is expected to ask Biden for help acquiring vaccines for Mexico amid a global debate on how to ensure an equitable distribution between richer and poorer countries. According to The Washington Post, “Mexico has scrambled to get shots, signing agreements for seven vaccines that have been approved or are in testing, but they have been slow to arrive. About 2.5 million people in Mexico had received at least one dose as of Sunday; the number in the United States is about 50 million.”
While Psaki said that Biden is not open to sharing vaccines, at the moment, she left the door open for the possibility. As of today, the U.S. is expected to have enough supply to vaccinate every American adult by the end of July, if not sooner, Psaki said Monday. But achieving that level of supply will not guarantee that every eligible American will have received a shot by then.