The Foreign Service Journal, September 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | SEPTEMBER 2021 13 TALKING POINTS U.S. Donates Vaccines to the World P resident Biden announced on June 10 that the United Stat es, in alliance with COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), would pur- chase and donate half a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income nations around the world. By July donations were being dispatched to many countries, includ- ing Haiti, South Africa, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Nepal and Argentina. “These vaccines will not only save lives and help Nepal emerge from this pandemic, but they will also help to recover economic losses and regain the opportunity to safely visit with our friends, families and neighbors,” U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry said at a July 12 arrival ceremony at Tribhuvan Inter- national Airport. The United States donated more than 1.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Nepal. The 500 million vaccine doses are in addition to a $4 billion pledge by the United States to COVAX for equipment, tests and therapeutics to countries in need. “The pandemic knows no borders, which makes it essential that we work together to combat the virus on a global basis. Our collaboration on vaccine distribution is essential to recovery everywhere,” MaryKay Carlson, chargé d’affaires at U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires, said as she welcomed the arrival of 3.5 million vaccine donations at Ministro Pistarini International Airport on July 16. “We are sharing these doses to help people in need and stimulate global economic recovery. The more people who can be vaccinated around the world, the safer we all are, and we are in this together.” “Unexplained Health Incidents” Crisis Widens A s many as 200 Americans now say they have been affected by possible directed energy attacks, according to a July 20 NBC News report. The mysterious illnesses were first reported in Cuba in 2016. An unnamed U.S. official told NBC News that “a steady drumbeat of cables has been coming in from overseas posts reporting new incidents—often multiple times each week.” Almost half of the cases involve CIA agents or their relatives, while 60 were linked to the Department of Defense and 50 to the State Department, NBC News reported, adding that there are possible cases on every continent except Antarctica. About two dozen U.S. diplomats, intelligence officers and other govern- ment officials have reported experiencing symptoms since late January, according to a July 16 New Yorker magazine report. Symptoms associated with the sus- pected directed energy attacks include dizziness, loss of balance, headaches, anxiety and cognitive fog. “In coordination with our interagency partners, we are vigorously investigating reports of possible unexplained health incidents among the U.S. embassy com- munity [in Vienna], and we’re also doing that wherever these incidents are reported,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a July 19 press briefing. Adam Entous, author of the New Yorker article about attacks in Vienna, told NPR on July 21 that officials he has spoken with believe that the Russians are behind the attacks. “They believe increas- ingly that it’s the Russians using some sort of microwave pulse radiation device that’s somehow been miniaturized and is very portable and is not easily detected,” Entous said. “And despite all the search- ing that they’ve done, they really have not advanced the ball in terms of finding the U.S.EMBASSYBUENOSAIRES U.S.EMBASSYKATHMANDU U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires Chargé d’Affaires MaryKay Carlson and Santiago Cafiero, Argentina’s chief of cabinet, oversee the arrival of 3.5 million vaccines donated by the United States to the Argentine people at Ministro Pistarini International Airport on July 16. On July 12, an airplane delivered more than 1.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal, a donation from the United States.