On July 14, Washington reached its COVID-19 vaccine goal: 70 percent of residents 16 and up now have at least one shot. This is a huge milestone for Washingtonians.
The widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines made this goal achievable, and life seems to be heading back to normal as restaurants, gyms, malls and schools prepare for an influx of traffic.
How does this compare to low-income countries? Unfortunately, at the current rate of COVID-19 vaccine rollout, developing countries may not receive the vaccine for years to come. While we have a surplus of vaccines, foreign countries are waiting for excess vaccines, leaving millions of communities vulnerable to COVID-19 variants, food insecurity and economic shortages.
However, Congress has the power to change this. The COVAX Initiative and global relief funding would fund vaccine distribution and food programs and support the health-related research of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
As an ambassador for The Borgen Project, a nonprofit dedicated to making global poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy, I believe it is essential for the U.S. to maintain its global leadership and protect the health, security and economic interests of all Americans in addition to the global community.