Influential senators in the United States on Friday called on the government of Joe Biden to develop a “comprehensive strategy” to address the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly by shipping anti-COVID vaccines.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his colleagues Tim Kane, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, respectively, the president and senior member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, raised their concerns in a letter to Biden.
It can read:
“It is important that the United States expand its efforts to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people are vaccinated.” “We request that the Western Hemisphere be considered specifically,” they wrote.
They noted that so far in 2021, 77% of those who traveled to the United States come from Latin America and the Caribbean, and many of them visit family members.
They pointed out that “given the frequency and number of people who travel between the region and the United States, we urge you to quickly develop a plan to share vaccines with countries in need.”
Lawmakers praised the Biden administration for its stated willingness to ship COVID-19 vaccines to Mexico and Canada, and encouraged the same preparedness for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas and other countries in the hemisphere.
The United States said in late April that it plans to ship up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine to other countries that will not need them domestically. But he did not specify the quantities, dates, or countries.
Menendez, Ken and Rubio emphasized the “national strategic and security benefits” of facilitating neighborhood access to vaccines.
And they warned that “without the commitment and leadership of the United States, our competitors will continue their efforts to take advantage of their less effective vaccines to coerce the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to support a diplomatic agenda hostile to us.”
For example, they noted that China promised in early 2021 to ship vaccines to Paraguay “in exchange for the Paraguayan government to stop recognizing Taiwan.”
Latin America and the Caribbean account for nearly a third of all deaths in the world from the Coronavirus.
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