A small but growing number of parliamentarians are refusing early access to a COVID-19 vaccine offered to them as part of government policy continuity.
A handful of parliamentarians from both sides, including representatives. Brian MastRepublicans Brian Jeffrey MastHouse Not Engaged in Texas Trial Five Republicans Vote on Marijuana Decriminalization Bill House Passes General Marijuana Decriminalization Reform Bill MORE (R-Fla.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarCongress passes coronavirus exemption.3T, government funding deal Ilhan Omar says he won’t get vaccine: “People who need it most should get it” Omar accuses Trump of “dangerous criminal neglect ”For the answer COVID-19 MORE (D-Minn.), Tulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard Ilhan Omar says he will not receive the vaccine: “People who need it the most should get it.” against Google | Krebs stresses election security as senators nod Twitter eliminates misinformation of coronavirus vaccine MORE (D-Hawaii), Jefferson Van Drew (RN.J.), Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard Paul McConnell: Senate to return on Dec. 29 for Trump’s potential veto to overturn vote Congress approves .3T Coronavirus, government funding deal House adopts massive spending deal, raising Senate vote MORE (R-Ky.) And elected representative Nancy Mace (RS.C.) did their best to announce that they will refuse a vaccine before all health care workers and the elderly are inoculated.
Most other parliamentarians receive the first of two doses of vaccine and urge others to follow suit, arguing that it is necessary to ensure continuity of government in a pandemic.
But some are paying attention to the views of representatives who receive priority access to a vaccine and would prefer to wait until it is widely available to the public.
“I do not say that I have any aversion to this. It’s just a personal attitude that if you’re a leader, you eat the last one, “Mast told The Hill.
“Symbols matter in life,” Mast said. “The strong symbol can be, ‘Hey, listen, we’ll make sure we take care of people first.’ …’You first. First with the legislation, first with the relief, first with the vaccination, first with all the others. ”
The Capitol doctor’s office received doses specially reserved for Congress and began distributing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to lawmakers late last week, in continuation of government policies.
Officials serving in the executive branch and the Supreme Court, as well as other top government leaders, such as Vice President Pence and President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCongress approves .3T coronavirus exemption, government funding deal House Conservatives flock to White House to plan provocative election results House passes massive spending deal, raising Senate vote they are also receiving doses, along with health workers across the country in recent days.
Once members of Congress are vaccinated, the Capitol doctor’s office will begin providing vaccines to Capitol Hill’s “continuity-essential” staff.
Members of Congress face a higher risk of exposure to the virus and transmitting it to others due to their weekly trip across the country to gather together in the Chapter and frequent interactions with constituents. Many parliamentarians are also over the age of 65, which puts them at greater risk of developing severe effects due to COVID-19.
At least 42 members of the House and Senate tested positive for COVID-19 in March, while a few others tested positive for antibodies or suspected cases. About half of these cases have been reported since November alone, during the pandemic.
Two members of Congress – President Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCongress goes through elimination of .3T coronavirus, House government funding agreement passes massive spending agreement, raising Senate vote Dictionary.com weighs in as #LetThemEatCake trends in connection with aid bill MORE (D-Calif.) And Sen. Chuck GrassleySenate Democrat Chuck Grassley says cyber attack on Treasury “seems significant” Negotiators resolve last-minute issues as COVID aid bill moves to Hillicon Valley finish line: MPs ask if mass piracy is an act of war | Microsoft says systems have been exposed to a massive SolarWinds hack Senators work to keep technical liability shield out of UK trade deal MORE (R-Iowa), President of the Senate pro tempore – are also the second and third, respectively, in the line of presidential succession. Pelosi received the first dose of vaccine on Friday, while Grassley has not received it since Monday, but intends to receive it.
Lawmakers acknowledged that the time was not right for them to receive the vaccine before Congress passed a coronavirus aid package on Monday.
The package includes funding for the national distribution of vaccines, aid for the wage protection program for small businesses, unemployment insurance, housing assistance and direct checks of up to $ 600 per eligible person.
“Well, it’s certainly embarrassing and discouraging that it took us eight months since we passed the CARES law to finally get some relief,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). “I mean, if you’re busy feeling really guilty for not helping the hundreds of millions of Americans who need help, then you’re going to get the vaccine?” But yes, I think someone who voted against all the packages should feel guilty right now. “
Beyer, 70, was among the first members of Congress to receive the vaccine on Friday. He did not report any side effects and said he wanted to set an example for others.
“I really want to make sure we set the right example. That we are doing everything we can to encourage people to get the vaccine. Firstly, for their health and, secondly, for the immunity of the herd in the country “, said Beyer.
Besides Pelosi, all the other top congressional leaders from both parties – the leader of the Senate majority Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: The Senate will return Dec. 29 for Trump’s potential vote on the veto Congress approves. Granting aid for coronavirus 3T, government funding agreement no. (R-Ky.), Leader of the House Minority Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCongress goes through .3T coronavirus removal, government funding agreement Top Republicans push back motion changes to resume Hill’s Morning report – Congress finally reaches COVID-19 aid agreement MORE (R-California) and leader of minorities in the Senate Charles SchumerChuck Schumer McConnell promises to vote in Biden’s Cabinet election. Expenditure Act aims to reduce emissions and stimulate energy development Schumer: New York receives B in funding for coronavirus aid MORE (DN.Y.) – received the first doses of vaccine in the last days and shared their experiences on social media.
Parliamentarians on both sides followed suit. Progressive Superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezCongress goes through elimination of coronavirus .3T, House government funding agreement passes massive spending agreement, Senate vote, Ilhan Omar says he will not receive the vaccine: receive ”MORE (DN.Y.), 31, posted several tweets describing the vaccination experience to the nearly 11 million followers on Twitter and explaining how the vaccine works.
But one of his closest allies – Omar, whose father died of COVID-19 this year – considered it “shameful” that members of Congress had been given priority for vaccination.
“It would make sense if it were age, but unfortunately it matters and is shameful. We are not more important [than] front workers, teachers, etc. who make sacrifices every day. That’s why I won’t take it. The people who need him the most should get him Full Point, “Omar wrote on Twitter.
Gabbard, who is retiring and will no longer be a member of Congress after Jan. 3, has called on colleagues under the age of 65 to wait to be vaccinated until the elderly receive it.
“I had planned to receive the vaccine, but now I will show solidarity with our elderly, without doing so until they can NOT. I urge my healthy under-65 colleagues to join me, “Gabbard wrote on Twitter on Monday.
And Paul, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year, wrote on Twitter that it was “inappropriate for me – who has already caught the virus / has immunity – to reach out to the elderly / health workers.” .
At least one parliamentarian, Rep. Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckOcasio-Cortez, other lawmakers criticize lack of time to review giant bill The GOP Congress says it is more concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine than the disease itself. (R-Colo.) He said he would not receive the vaccine because of concerns about its safety.
But a bipartisan majority of lawmakers so far say it is in their best interest to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Look, that’s what responsible adults do. They get the vaccine when they can, ”Beyer said.