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Leighton Slattery, Asray Gopa and Charlie Blocker are all US citizens, attempting to navigate the pandemic without easy access to the high-quality vaccines that are the linchpin of the US strategy. They are among 14 Americans abroad who spoke with the Washington Post about their struggles to get the shots, saying they received little guidance from the Biden administration and watched enviously as hundreds of thousands of doses in the United States expired this summer and fall without any takers.

The disparity has grown as millions of people in the United States are receiving their third dose of high-quality vaccines, while some citizens abroad have yet to get their first. And months of pleading from the expats and their advocates, who represent as many as 9 million Americans overseas, has produced no change in policy.

“You have Americans who are filing and paying taxes, and a promise by the administration that all Americans will get vaccinated, and yet that whole community has been left out of the equation,” said Marylouise Serrato, executive director of American Citizens Abroad, which advocates for expatriates.

The White House has insisted that it has no special responsibility to vaccinate Americans abroad, citing precedent that the US government doesn’t provide private health care to citizens living overseas. State Department officials also don’t want to spark international disputes over vaccine priorities, particularly with many countries struggling to secure enough doses to immunize their own citizens.


Leighton Slattery, Asray Gopa and Charlie Blocker are all US citizens, attempting to navigate the pandemic without easy access to the high-quality vaccines that are the linchpin of the US strategy. They are among 14 Americans abroad who spoke with the Washington Post about their struggles to get the shots, saying they received little guidance from the Biden administration and watched enviously as hundreds of thousands of doses in the United States expired this summer and fall without any takers.

The disparity has grown as millions of people in the United States are receiving their third dose of high-quality vaccines, while some citizens abroad have yet to get their first. And months of pleading from the expats and their advocates, who represent as many as 9 million Americans overseas, has produced no change in policy.

“You have Americans who are filing and paying taxes, and a promise by the administration that all Americans will get vaccinated, and yet that whole community has been left out of the equation,” said Marylouise Serrato, executive director of American Citizens Abroad, which advocates for expatriates.

The White House has insisted that it has no special responsibility to vaccinate Americans abroad, citing precedent that the US government doesn’t provide private health care to citizens living overseas. State Department officials also don’t want to spark international disputes over vaccine priorities, particularly with many countries struggling to secure enough doses to immunize their own citizens.

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