We have received the good news that the United Kingdom administered its first COVID-19 vaccine to a 91-year-old woman, prioritizing the needs of older populations more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Then we received the good news that Gov. John Bel Edwards is planning to distribute the vaccine to some of the most vulnerable populations in the state with the first round of vaccines.

I feel renewed with hope and energy receiving this incredible news after many challenging months since the COVID-19 pandemic began to soar in our state.

I want to share more exciting news: The Global Child Thrive Act amendment has been included in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act that the House and Senate decided upon. The House voted and passed this final version of this bill.

The Global Child Thrive Act amendment will direct U.S. international programming to include Early Childhood Development activities to make international programming already funded by U.S. dollars more effective without requiring additional funding. ECD activities, such as singing and playing with colorful objects, have been proven to help children reach their development milestones and lead more successful lives. During the pandemic, ECD is more important than ever to help mitigate the worst potential long-term impacts on vulnerable children around the world.

I am grateful Congress has included the Global Child Thrive Act amendment in the final version of the NDAA. After many trying months, I am elated to see Congress working to ensure that children around the world are given the opportunity to thrive.

FRANCES CASEY

advocacy specialist

Covington