U.S. officials serving abroad in nations with low-grade medical capabilities are being forced to get COVID-19 vaccines from foreign governments, including Russia, due to a lack of supply from the Biden administration.
As the Washington Post reported, “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. 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.”
The World Health Organization has not approved Russia’s vaccine, and the State Department does not recommend that Americans stationed overseas take Russia’s vaccine. However, it is allowing those Americans to make their own health decisions.
The National Security Agency has warned that Russian hackers attempted to steal COVID-19 vaccine research from American universities, companies, and health organizations.
“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 said. “Especially when you consider that the best vaccines were made in the U.S.”
Another senior U.S. official said that the Biden administration had “no real plan” for vaccinating U.S. diplomats stationed outside the country. More than 80,000 Americans have died from the virus in less than 30 days under the Biden administration.
“Washington is prioritizing domestic workers, with no real plan for the rest of us, when they all have access to U.S. health care,” one senior U.S. diplomat said. “And the reason they give — continuity of work — makes no sense. What about continuity of working in the field?”
The Post pointed out that in China, “some U.S. personnel have complained about being subjected to anal swab tests for the coronavirus by Chinese authorities.”
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 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,” said Carol Perez, the State Department’s acting undersecretary for management. “This is a very fluid situation, and we understand employees are eager for information.”
The Department of Defense appears to be doing a better job of distributing the vaccine to troops. Approximately 210,000 service members have already received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But the State Department is refusing to say how many of its employees have been vaccinated.