At the end of last week, U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., introduced the “American Medical Investment Generating Overseas Security (AMIGOS) Act” which, she noted, will “protect American intellectual property and strengthen the United State’s ability to engage in vaccine diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Salazar introduced the bill on Friday with the support of four co-sponsors including U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
“The United States is leading the world’s COVID-19 response – we developed the most effective vaccines and have made the largest contributions to global health organizations like COVAX and GAVI to deliver vaccines directly to vulnerable communities. However, the United States has no strategic surplus vaccine diplomacy strategy,” Salazar’s office noted. “Currently, the recipients of American-funded and American-provided vaccines through COVAX and GAVI are unaware that they are coming from the United States since they are being distributed through global organizations. Meanwhile, China and Russia are actively engaging in vaccine diplomacy which, if not properly addressed, could further entrench adversarial presence close to home in the Western Hemisphere, and reshape the geopolitical landscape for decades to come.”
Salazar stressed her bill will protect intellectual property on the vaccine, ensure American-supplied vaccines have USA branding and will help on the diplomatic front.
“Rather than crushing free market innovation, the U.S. should be proposing bold surplus vaccine donation plans, increase awareness of current U.S. efforts, and ramp up vaccine manufacturing,” said Salazar on Friday. “Our most vulnerable allies and neighbors, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean are counting on us to get this right and slow viral spread and COVID-19 mutations. I’ve introduced the AMIGOS Act to develop a strategy for effective U.S. vaccine diplomacy and counter Communist China’s and Putin’s Russia’s growing influence in our hemisphere.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which Salazar sits. The bill was also sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.