“Vaccinate the Pacific!” is the title of a paper by Kevin E. Lunday, for Security Nexus. This paper emphasizes the need for the U.S. to influence the expansion of global vaccination efforts, particularly in Pacific Island nations.

The U.S. should immediately increase targeted vaccinations, other health assistance, and development aid to the Pacific islands, employing a unified, focused Federal response that leverages the interagency and allies for leadership, diplomacy, coordination, medical aid, and communications. COVID-19 is not the only crisis facing Pacific island nations; it is just the most immediate and pressing one. Oceania also faces longer-term challenges with rising sea levels due to climate change that threaten diminishing inhabitable land; overharvesting of precious fish stocks due to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing by distant water fishing fleets; and foreign malign influence that threatens governance and regional stability.

Kevin E. Lunday is a rear admiral in the United States Coast Guard. The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the DKI APCSS or the United States Government.

Security Nexus is a peer-reviewed, online journal published by the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.