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On the Front Lines of Diplomacy, but at the Back of the Vaccine Queue

Added 02-24-21 02:40:04pm EST - “State Department officials overseas expressed anger and disappointment that diplomats in Washington were being vaccinated before those in more perilous posts.” - Nytimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Nytimes.com: “On the Front Lines of Diplomacy, but at the Back of the Vaccine Queue”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

State Department officials overseas expressed anger and disappointment that diplomats in Washington were being vaccinated before those in more perilous posts.

WASHINGTON — In the best of times, working at the United States Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo, was always difficult: Pollution, poor electricity, unreliable internet service and a substandard health system there rendered it a hardship post for American diplomats.

In a cautionary cable sent last week to State Department headquarters, the American ambassador in Pristina, Philip S. Kosnett, described increasingly dire conditions for his staff, including depression and burnout, after nearly a year of trying to balance the public-facing duties of diplomacy during the pandemic.

He said many embassy employees felt unsafe going outside, shopping for groceries or getting medical checkups in a country that disdained face masks. Others reported to the office regardless, unable to gain access to government systems from home, to keep up with work demands with a staff thinned out by virus-related departures.

Mr. Kosnett said he had not yet received vaccines for his diplomats, even though doses were given to some State Department employees based in Washington starting two months ago.

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