May 21, 2021

Van Hollen, Cardin Applaud Deployment of Peace Corps Volunteers to Maryland to Bolster COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) applauded the Federal Emergency Manage Agency’s (FEMA) announcement that 65 Peace Corps Response volunteers will be deployed to Maryland to help with COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The volunteers, who will serve three-month assignments, will be organized by FEMA in mobile teams focusing on urgent needs and engaging in logistics, outreach, education, and language support for under-served communities across the state, removing barriers to vaccine access.

“We need all hands on deck to ensure that every Marylander has access to a COVID-19 vaccine. The immediate deployment of Peace Corps Volunteers to Maryland will help us expand these efforts and improve equitable distribution of the vaccine,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I was proud to be an early supporter of the deployment of our Peace Corps volunteers in the fight against COVID-19 here at home. We are grateful to our national service organizations for providing this critical assistance to communities in Maryland, and with expertise in fields ranging from public health to supply chain logistics to language support and education, Peace Corps volunteers are uniquely equipped to help Marylanders across our state get vaccinated.”

“The United States Peace Corps is one of the most impactful volunteer humanitarian forces in the world. Their skills and dedication will make an incredible difference in Maryland and elsewhere as we work to increase COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Senator Cardin. “I could not be prouder of these Americans giving of themselves to shape a better future right here at home.”

Since the pandemic started, Senator Van Hollen and Senator Cardin have worked to ensure that our Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and other national service volunteers were equipped to help our country battle the coronavirus. All Peace Corps Volunteers serving overseas were brought home in 2020, and their assignments cancelled, as the pandemic spread worldwide. In April 2020, Senator Van Hollen led a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Peace Corps, FEMA, and AmeriCorps urging them to enlist evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers in domestic COVID response efforts. Senator Van Hollen also introduced the Undertaking National Initiatives to Tackle Epidemic Act (UNITE Act) to expand authorization of volunteer opportunities within AmeriCorps and FEMA, directing them to prioritize projects related to the pandemic to enhance the coronavirus pandemic response. Additionally, Senator Cardin serves as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee responsible for oversight of the activities and programs of the Peace Corps.