May 31, 2021

Vaccines for U.S. Citizens Abroad

This letter has been formally submitted to the Office of President Joseph Biden

Dear Mr. President,

We, the International Executive Committee and Country Chairs of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (Democrats Abroad), urge you to enable the swift vaccination of U.S. citizens abroad. While we cheer the rapid and highly effective management of Covid-19 vaccinations within the United States — as well as your March 11 commitment to make FDA-approved vaccines available to every adult U.S. citizen — many U.S. citizens overseas remain unvaccinated, in many cases due to limited availability of vaccines. Although some of us have access to vaccines in our host countries, we all agree that the U.S. government should take appropriate steps to ensure that vaccines are available to all of its citizens worldwide.

As you recently stated, using the United States’ vaccine stockpile to fight the disease around the world is “the right thing to do... the smart thing to do... the strong thing to do.” We respectfully ask that, in implementing this pledge, our government also considers the lives and situations of its own citizens residing outside of the United States and ensures  their access to FDA-approved vaccines.

Vaccine-related issues facing U.S. citizens abroad were recently highlighted in The Atlantic article “They Get Taxed, but Not Vaxxed.” As described, returning to the United States for a jab is simply not an option for most people. Jobs, family obligations, and costs preclude taking the five or six weeks required for travel, completion of the vaccination cycle, and in many cases the need to still comply with quarantine requirements upon returning to their host country. And, of course, the risk inherent in the trip itself, as pointed out in the U.S. State Department’s own recent travel advisory, can and should give pause.

To quote from the U.S. State Department website: “The U.S. Government has no higher priority than the protection of American citizens.” The security of nine million American lives may be at stake. We respectfully urge you to address this matter and ensure the swift vaccination of U.S. citizens worldwide.


Candice Kerestan

International Chair

Democratic National Committee Member

Pennsylvania voter in Germany


International Executive Committee

Art Schankler

International Vice Chair

Democratic National Committee Member

New York voter in Serbia


Beth Landry

International Secretary

Maryland voter in Sweden


Quyen Nguyen

International Treasurer

Iowa voter in Colombia


Orlando Vidal

International Legal Counsel

Washington, D.C. voter in the United Arab Emirates


Nicholas Gordon

Regional Vice Chair, Asia Pacific 

Massachusetts voter in Hong Kong


Steve Nardi

Regional Vice Chair, the Americas

Michigan voter in Canada


Jennifer Rakow-Stepper

Regional Vice Chair, Europe, Middle East, and Africa

California voter in Austria


Country Chairs

Kenton Barnes

Country Chair, Germany

Ohio voter


John A. Baumlin Jr.

Country Chair, Japan

New Jersey voter


Elizabeth Blackbourn

Country Chair, China

Wisconsin voter


Kendra Borgen

Country Chair, The Netherlands

Alaska voter


Eric Burns

Country Chair, Switzerland

North Carolina voter


William J. H. Chapman 

Country Chair, Mexico

New Hampshire voter


Reno Domenico

Country Chair, Ukraine

New Jersey voter


Trip DuBard

Country Chair, Belgium

South Carolina voter


John Eastwood

Country Chair, Taiwan
North Carolina voter 


Kee Evans

Country Chair, Guatemala

New Mexico voter


Stacey Harris-Papaioannou

Country Chair, Greece

Florida voter


Jonathon Holler

Country Chair, France

Texas voter


Kristi Holmes Espineira

Country Chair, Portugal

Colorado voter 


Daniel James Jiron

Country Chair, Spain

Virginia voter


Steven Johnson

Country Chair, Costa Rica

South Carolina voter


Sam Khunaizi

Country Chair, United Arab Emirates

Michigan voter


Cory J. Lemke

Country Chair, Republic of Korea

Arizona voter


Stephanie Mattes

Country Chair, Argentina

Texas voter


Merrill Oates

Country Chair, Hungary

Utah voter


Leda M. Pérez

Country Chair, Perú

Florida voter


Paul Risley

Country Chair, Thailand

Virginia voter


David Shallenberger

Country Chair, Ecuador

Vermont voter 


Suma Shamanna

Country Chair, India

Oregon Voter


Christina Skovsgaard

Country Chair, Norway

Ohio voter


Rebekah Straneva

Country Chair, Vietnam

Pennsylvania voter


Elana Sztokman

Country Chair, Israel

New York voter


James Todd

Country Chair, Philippines 

California voter


Justin Underwood

Country Chair, Australia

Illinois voter


Christine Valverde

Country Chair, New Zealand

Pennsylvania voter


Randi Weitzner

Country Chair, Canada

New York voter