Good news: the Biden administration announced today that they will be sending our entire Astra Zeneca stockpile of up to 60 million doses with other countries. This is more or less the outcome I wanted. Apparently the defense production act forces companies producing vaccine supplies and vaccines in the US to prioritize domestic markets, which apparently means literal banning of exports. Seems like there are definite downsides to invoking that act.
The only question now is speed and distribution priority. In my mind we would deploy with absolute maximum blitzkrieg speed. I did some rough calculations yesterday and concluded that roughly 50 people die for every day we delay the shipment of 1 million doses. With 20 million doses ready right now that’s 1000 preventable deaths per day we could save just by increasing speed.
Knowing how the government tends to operate, this will probably take much longer. And we might end up prioritizing lower risk countries like Canada and Mexico which would in my view be a sub-optimal use of excess supply.
But we are at least beginning to take the right steps. I am hopeful for that reason.