Covid Task Force Upate 3: Call to Action

With the goal of urging and assisting the US government to fulfill its pledge of making coronavirus vaccines available to all Americans, including the tens of thousands of US citizens living in Thailand, the Democrats Abroad COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force has taken actions to collect and share information on the situation and advocate for access to vaccines. For more information, please see the COVID Task Force updates at: http://www.democratsabroad.org/th

Although there has been substantial interest from the media in the situation of Americans overseas and we remain hopeful that US FDA-approved vaccines will become available and foreign residents will be included in Thailand’s vaccination program, we encourage all Americans in Thailand to share your concerns about access to vaccines with your representatives in Congress, the Biden administration and on social media. Democrats Abroad Thailand is using #TaxedButNotVaxxed on Twitter, ig, fb.

As President Biden said in the Rose Garden on May 13, 2021, “Let’s remember, we’re all Americans. Let’s remember that we are all in this together…And we have to take this pandemic, tackle it not just here, but overseas as well to truly be safe in the long run.”

A sample letter is included below, and you can find the contact details for your representative here: http://www.congress.gov/contact-us

The White House can be reached at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

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Dear Senator / Representative ____________________,

I am writing as a constituent who lives overseas who has been impacted by the lack of access to COVID-19 vaccination in Thailand, where I live.

I was encouraged by President Biden’s promise that all Americans are eligible for potentially life-saving vaccinations to protect them from COVID-19, but so many Americans living overseas remain excluded and cannot benefit from that promise. As you know, citizens overseas are subject to the US tax code and are entitled to vote in elections, regardless of where they reside. Many Americans live in countries, such as Thailand, where infections are rapidly escalating and no US FDA-approved vaccines are available, or where local governments prioritize their own citizens over foreign residents.

Flying back to the US and then returning to a 14-day hotel quarantine in Thailand is simply not an affordable option for many, and the risk of infection on the trip itself is not inconsequential. Medical issues and time off work and away from family are also limiting factors for many.  In addition, Americans returning from outbreak sites like Thailand, India or elsewhere to the US solely for vaccination creates potential for the spread of infection and new variants in the country.

The US State Department has already sent vaccines across the world to inoculate their staff and family members, and veterans in Manila have been vaccinated by the VA clinic there. The Biden Administration has also proposed that the US vaccinate South Korean soldiers and that surplus vaccine supplies be donated overseas. I would ask that you advocate for the 9 million Americans living overseas be included in the plans to provide vaccination directly or through the donation of supplies to countries, like Thailand, where so many Americans live.

Thank you very much for your consideration of this important issue and for your assistance.

Sincerely,