Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order to ensure that vaccinating US citizens against Covid-19 takes priority over efforts to assist other countries, including close allies.
Failing to protect foreign workers will fail to protect the United States, a country of immigrants. Even before Covid-19 strained US health care systems, hefty percentages of health are workers were immigrants, reports Migration Information Source.
"Hospitals in at least 25 states are critically short of nurses, doctors, and other staff as coronavirus cases surge across the United States, according to the industry’s trade association and a tally conducted by STAT," reports Olivia Goldhill for STAT. "The situation has gotten so bad that in some places, severely ill patients have been transferred hundreds of miles for an available bed — from Texas to Arizona, and from central Missouri to Iowa."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed strategies to mitigate staffing shortages. And with a limited supply, the CDC recommended groups considered for early vaccination:
- health care personnel
- workers in essential and critical industries
- individuals with medical conditions that put them at high risk for Covid-19
- people aged 65 years and older.
During the summer, the Trump administration arranged for enough vaccine from Pfizer to inoculate 50 million Americans, but declined an offer to reserve additional doses. The company now has commitments to other countries, reports the New York Times. “Any additional doses beyond the 100 million are subject to a separate and mutually-acceptable agreement. The company is not able to comment on any confidential discussions that may be taking place with the U.S. government,” noted a Pfizer statement.
The administration denied the New York Times report.
White House officials described the executive order as a "reaffirmation of the President's commitment to America first," reports CNN. Numerous companies continue to develop vaccines as well.
But as the old saying goes, beggars should not be choosy. Of course, Joe Biden, to be inaugurated as next US president as of January 20, 2021, can write his own executive orders.
UPDATE: The executive order reads: "To ensure the health and safety of our citizens, to strengthen our economy, and to enhance the security of our Nation, we must ensure that Americans have priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government ('United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines')."
Data source for graph is the Migration Information Source and the photo is from Jae C. Hong of Associated Press.