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Geneva Conventions

Beijing is reportedly subjecting U.S. diplomats to COVID-19 anal swabs

U.S. State Department officials serving abroad, especially in countries with high COVID-19 infection rates, are frustrated over delays in getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, The Washington Post reports. At least 13 foreign governments have offered to inoculate U.S. diplomats with their own supply of U.S.-made Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, and U.S. officials in Russia have even requested shots of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, which hasn't yet been approved by the U.S. or World Health Organization.

"It's embarrassing for the world's richest country to require the charity of other nations when it comes to vaccines," one U.S. diplomat posted to the Middle East told the Post, "especially when you consider that the best vaccines were made in the U.S." Relying on the kindness of foreigners is not "the only indignity," the Post adds:

In China, some U.S. personnel have complained about being subjected to anal swab tests for the coronavirus by Chinese authorities, said U.S. officials. The invasive technique has been heralded by Chinese doctors as more effective than a nasal swab despite the unpleasant nature of the procedure. In response to questions about the anal swab testing of U.S. officials, a State Department spokesman said the department was "evaluating all reasonable options" to address the issue with the aim of preserving the "dignity" of U.S. officials "consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations." [The Washington Post]

Read more about the State Department's struggles to vaccine its foreign service officers at The Washington Post.