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Bilirakis Fights to Prioritize Americans in Vaccination Effort

February 4, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. -  Today, Representatives Gus Bilirakis, Ashley Hinson, and Elise Stefanik co-led a bill in opposition to any plans by the United States Department of Defense to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to prisoners held at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) and detained during operations conducted during the Global War on Terrorism until all Americans have had the opportunity to be vaccinated; and assert that efforts by the United States Government to provide vaccinations for COVID-19 should prioritize United States citizens.  The bill follows the Biden Administration’s plan to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to GITMO detainees. After bipartisan scrutiny and increased pressure to rescind the order, the Pentagon stated it will pause the plan for further review.  Today’s bill effectively asserts that no terrorist should receive a COVID-19 vaccination before any American citizen.

Over the last month, I’ve seen how difficult it has been for seniors in my community to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine.  These are grandparents who haven’t been able to leave their house or see their families for almost a year.  They are moms and dads with serious health conditions who haven’t been able to work out of fear that if they contract the virus, they’ll die.  In light of their suffering, we have been doing everything humanly possible to get them a safe and effective vaccine as quickly as we can- after all, it is their tax dollars who helped make the creation of this vaccine possible,” said Congressman Bilirakis.   “The notion that this Administration would even consider prioritizing the vaccination of known terrorists before Americans who have already endured such hardship is frankly inconceivable to me, which is why I was eager to co-author this important legislation.”  

“It is appalling that under the Biden Administration, terrorists held in GITMO were going to cut the line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of American citizens. Meanwhile, thousands of Iowans, including frontline workers, first responders, teachers, and seniors are still waiting to receive the vaccine. It is infuriating that terrorists, including those responsible for the 9/11 attack, were put ahead of Iowans. This legislation calls on the Administration to ensure American citizens have access to the vaccine before terrorists.” -Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (IA-01)