U.S. officials posted in nations that have low-grade medical capabilities are reportedly having to seek vaccines from foreign governments, including Russia, due to the lack of supply of vaccines coming from the Biden administration.
“At least 13 foreign governments offered to inoculate U.S. officials serving abroad with their own supplies of U.S.-made Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — a gesture the State Department has already accepted, said senior U.S. officials. The department is evaluating offers from at least eight other countries that are willing to do the same,” The Washington Post reported. “In Russia, some State Department personnel appealed to Moscow for doses of its Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine after Washington could not promise the delivery of U.S.-made vaccine doses in the near future, officials said.”
Russia’s vaccine has not been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the State Department is not recommending that Americans stationed overseas take Russia’s vaccine, however, it is allowing those Americans to make their own health decisions.
Under the Trump administration, the National Security Agency warned that Russian hackers were attempting to steal coronavirus vaccine research from universities, companies, and health organizations in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.
“It’s embarrassing for the world’s richest country to require the charity of other nations when it comes to vaccines,” one U.S. official in the Middle East told the newspaper, “especially when you consider that the best vaccines were made in the U.S.”
Another senior U.S. official told the Post that the Biden administration had “no real plan” for vaccinating U.S. diplomats stationed outside the country.
“Washington is prioritizing domestic workers, with no real plan for the rest of us, when they all have access to U.S. health care,” said one senior U.S. diplomat. “And the reason they give — continuity of work — makes no sense. What about continuity of working in the field?”
The Post noted that in China, “some U.S. personnel have complained about being subjected to anal swab tests for the coronavirus by Chinese authorities.” The invasive anal test appears to be a new method being used by the Chinese and started to make news in late January, after Biden was inaugurated. The Post added, “In response to questions about the anal swab testing of U.S. officials, a State Department spokesman said the department was ‘evaluating all reasonable options’ to address the issue with the aim of preserving the ‘dignity’ of U.S. officials ‘consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.’”
The Biden administration told the newspaper that they were working to address problems that U.S. diplomats stationed overseas are facing.
“The health and safety of our people is a top priority for the department, and we are committed to providing our workforce timely, accurate information about vaccine distribution,” Carol Perez, the State Department’s acting undersecretary for management, said. “This is a very fluid situation, and we understand employees are eager for information.”
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