Members of Congress press Biden to send COVID-19 vaccines to Armenia

Armenia Still Not on Distribution List for 1 Billion Vaccines Pledged by President to At-Risk Countries

WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan group of US Representatives led by Central Valley California Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) has called on President Biden to send five million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Armenia through the global access (COVAX) program, citing the country’s low vaccination rate and inadequate supply, an initiative strongly supported by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In a September 22nd letter to President Biden, Representatives Costa, Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA), wrote “Armenia, a country of less than three million people, is struggling to vaccinate its citizens. Only about five percent of the population is fully-vaccinated due to lack of adequate supply. . . The estimated five million doses needed to vaccinate the remainder of the country are but a small fraction of the doses the United States pledged will be donated to other countries through COVAX.”

“Our US government – spending our American tax dollars – is on target to share a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses globally – but has yet to prioritize Armenia – a landlocked genocide-survivor state facing a health emergency, a refugee crisis and ongoing attacks and occupation by Azerbaijan,” said ANCA executive director Aram Hamparian. “Instead of sending military aid to the Aliyev dictatorship, the Biden administration should prioritize humanitarian aid in the form of vaccines to Armenia and assistance for the 100,000 Artsakh Armenians displaced due to Azerbaijani aggression.”

The ANCA has – since the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic – advocated for robust US funding to help Armenia deal with this health crisis.

The full text of the Congressional letter to President Biden is below.

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September 22, 2021

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr. President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, D.C. 20050

Dear Mr. President:

We write in support of your pledge for the United States to donate 500 million additional COVID- 19 vaccine doses to lower-income countries around the world. In keeping with this pledge, we urge you to specifically ensure that adequate vaccination doses reach the Republic of Armenia for the country to vaccinate its population.

Armenia, a country of less than 3 million people, is struggling to vaccinate its citizens. Only about 5 percent of the population is fully-vaccinated due to lack of adequate supply. Vaccination procurement assistance for Armenia is in keeping with the goals of the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program. The estimated 5 million doses needed to vaccinate the remainder of the country are but a small fraction of the doses the United States pledged will be donated to other countries through COVAX.

As supply for vaccines continues to meet domestic demand, the United States must step up our global vaccine distribution efforts to ensure our allies and partners around the world also have access to adequate supplies of vaccines. As you know, vaccinating the world is a key to ending this pandemic, and the United States should be a leader in supplying vaccines to the world and ensuring countries like Armenia get the assistance they need to reach widespread vaccination for COVID-19. Again, thank you for your commitment to ensuing lower-income countries receive adequate vaccines to finally end this global pandemic.

Sincerely,

Jim Costa
Member of Congress

David G. Valadao
Member of Congress

Jackie Speier
Member of Congress

Anna Eshoo
Member of Congress

Frank Pallone Jr.
Member of Congress

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ANCA

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues. To learn more, visit www.anca.org.

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