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Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Photo: Pool/Getty Images

Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are leading an effort urging the Biden administration to coordinate with the Defense Department to donate supplemental COVID-19 vaccine doses to U.S. embassies and consulates.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans living in countries where they are not considered eligible for the vaccine or those living in places where vaccines are not being authorized by the FDA or the World Health Organization may have to wait for months or even years to receive a vaccine.

Driving the news: Murphy and Moran, along with a group of 24 bipartisan senators, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken Thursday outlining their request.

  • They urge Blinken to coordinate with the Defense Department to administer vaccines to the nine million Americans living abroad.

Of note: While the State Department has vaccinated tens of thousands of foreign service personnel, along with their families, the Defense Department administered more than 1 million doses across more than 80 international facilities globally.

The big picture: The U.S. is closer each day to approaching President Biden’s target goal of vaccinating 70% of adults in the nation.

  • But the vaccination rate abroad is starkly different depending on the location.
  • The senators underscore in their letter that 85% of shots administered so far have been in high- and upper-middle-income countries, while only 0.3% of doses have been administered in low-income countries.
  • They make the point that while Americans living abroad might wish to travel to the U.S. to be vaccinated, they may have to worry about the financial burden of travel, in addition to quarantine requirements when they return to their host country.

Go deeper

Newsom orders COVID-19 vaccine mandate for California students

Students attending school in L.A. Unified School District. Photo: Robyn Beck / AFP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Friday that all eligible public and private school students will be mandated to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, once it has been given final approval from the FDA.

Why it matters: This is the first K-12 COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Oct 2, 2021 - Health

U.S. hits 700,000 COVID deaths

People walk through "In America: Remember," a public art installation commemorating all of the Americans who have died due to COVID-19, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

The U.S. surpassed 700,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Why it matters: A summer of division over vaccine and masking mandates only added to the surge in cases caused by the Delta variant. The U.S. went from 600,000 deaths to 700,000 in the span of three-and-a-half months.

Murkowski slams comparisons of mask mandates to Nazism in Alaska

Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) voiced alarm and frustration about the surge of COVID cases in her state on Friday, decrying comparisons of mask mandates to Nazism.

Why it matters: Alaska's number of weekly cases has steadily increased in recent months, jumping 10% from just last week, according to state health data. Meanwhile, anti-vaxxers continue to protest mask and vaccine mandates in increasingly hostile situations.