WASHINGTON – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) sent a letter to President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting urgent executive action to ensure Americans living abroad have access to COVID-19 vaccinations. There are nearly 9 million Americans living overseas, including tens of thousands of veterans, who may not have access to a vaccine.
Despite readily available vaccine access in the United States, many Americans abroad face a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines or barriers to the vaccine depending on the country they reside. The Members of Congress highlight these challenges in their letter and urged President Biden and Secretary Blinken to use all means necessary to ensure Americans overseas receive the vital COVID-19 vaccine:
“Americans abroad currently face numerous barriers in trying to obtain a vaccine. Many of our constituents overseas are living in countries with a limited supply of vaccines, where vaccine access is not yet available and where the healthcare infrastructure does not have the capacity to administer them. In some countries, Americans are not eligible to receive the vaccine as they are deemed ineligible as noncitizens or low priority. In other instances, the financial hardship of flying back to the United States to be vaccinated or quarantining for a period in the host country is too burdensome.
Our government made a pledge to secure enough vaccines for all Americans and that pledge extends to Americans overseas. We urge you to establish additional means by which Americans abroad can be vaccinated including the use of military installations, embassies, as feasible, to ensure quick and safe distribution to the individuals that cannot currently access a vaccine. We have already witnessed both the Department of State and Department of Defense successfully vaccinate personnel abroad which gives us the reassurance that we have the capacity and can do more.
As our country continues to make progress at home in the fight against COVID, we must not allow our fellow constituents overseas, including many veterans who have served and protected our nation, to be left behind. We can and must ensure they have access to the vaccine which is why we urge you to use all the tools at your disposal to fulfill that critical promise to Americans.”
Rep. Grijalva was joined by 26 Members of Congress as cosignatories of the letter including: Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA).
The full letter can be found here.