Like many Americans, Ariane Dvir is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Only, she doesn’t live in America. From her home near Cologne, in western Germany, she has spent much of this year hearing about her loved ones back in the United States getting vaccinated. Her husband, an Israeli citizen, has heard about his family and friends in Israel doing the same. Though the couple had intended to wait their turn in Germany, the slow pace of vaccination there, and across much of Europe, has made them reconsider. Come summer, Dvir and her husband will take separate trips to their respective home countries. They plan to return to Germany fully vaccinated.
“We refrained from so much in the past year, it feels out of step with the spirit of things to travel without a vaccine,” she told me. “Then again, what is more important than getting vaccinated?”
More than 5 million Americans residing outside the United States face a similar predicament, watching the country’s successful inoculation drive, some from places where vaccination has scarcely begun. With all stateside American adults due to be eligible to receive a vaccine as early as this week, some expats have already opted to travel home for the jab. Others are calling on the government to direct some of the hundreds of millions of doses it’s projected to have left over to its overseas citizens, wherever they happen to live. President Joe Biden has repeatedly stated that the U.S. will share its excess supply only after the needs of Americans are met. Why, some overseas Americans are wondering, should they be left out?