COVID Vaccine Priority for Congress Raises Disputes

Lawmakers who were among the first Americans to receive the coronavirus vaccine in recent days have faced backlash and congressional struggles over the ethics and views of politicians who have been shot in front of frontline workers and at-risk groups.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received the vaccine on Friday. A number of other lawmakers were shot over the weekend, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, Marco Rubio and Joni Ernst.

New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu wrote on Twitter that it was “ridiculous” that lawmakers “lined up” and received the vaccine before long-term care residents.

“Congress has done nothing in the last eight months. Now, they are cutting the line and receiving the vaccine in front of long-term care residents, nurses and essential workers who store our shelves, ”Sununu posted on Twitter. “It simply came to our notice then. And offensive. ”

Younger members such as Rubio, 49, and Ernst, 50, who said she was “so skeptical” about the numbers of COVID cases, were criticized for being the first to they received the vaccine, as did Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., NY), who at 31 is the youngest member of Congress.

Emergency physician Dr. Jeremy Faust he said in a tweet that he and other employees in his hospital had not yet received the vaccine.

“Why any younger member (<65?) Should do this now, as opposed to closer to when their real constituents will be eligible, is a bit unclear to me," Faust wrote.

The representative of Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive “Squad” colleague, Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), Whose father died of coronavirus complications in June, threw a priority on Congress in a tweet on Sunday, calling it “shameful “The fact that politicians will receive vaccines in front of front-line workers.

It would make sense if it were age, but, unfortunately, it is important and shameful “, she wrote. “We are no more important than front-line workers, teachers, etc. who make sacrifices every day. That’s why I won’t take it. The people who need him the most should receive him. “

Ocasio-Cortez defended his decision to receive the vaccine in a tweet, saying: “If it were up to the individual to” give “the vaccine to someone else, I would do it! But according to these protocols, there is a chance that it could have been stored. “

“There is also a real risk in this age of misinformation about how it would be armed if leaders refused to take it en masse., “she added.

White House officials, Congress and the judiciary are given priority for vaccination in line with the national continuity policy set out in Directive 40 on Presidential Policy in 2016, which calls for any continuity of government action by the executive to be applied in a similar way. in legislative legislation. and judicial branches.

Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress and the Supreme Court, told reporters in a letter Thursday that he strongly recommends that they receive the vaccine.

“My recommendation to you is absolutely unequivocal: there is no reason why you should delay the administration of this vaccine,” he wrote. “The benefit far outweighs any small risk.”

Members of Congress were given first priority, after which the attending physician’s office would identify “essential staff members for continuity” – probably campus police officers and other key workers – to receive further shots.

However, Only 16 percent of Americans believe elected officials should be among the first in line for vaccines, according to a recent ABC News / Ipsos poll.

An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that health workers and people in long-term care facilities be the first in line to receive the vaccine, followed by people aged 75 and over and about 30 million “frontline key workers”, including first responders, teachers and grocery store employees. The third wave of vaccinations will target other key workers, people over the age of 65 and younger adults with serious medical conditions, while the general public is expected to receive the vaccine last time, which could begin in late spring. or summer.

Officials hope to distribute the first dose of coronavirus vaccine to 20 million people by the end of the month. From On Monday, approximately 4.6 million doses were distributed and approximately 614,000 doses were administered.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) called the priority given to Congress “an immoral and poor health policy” and said he would not receive the vaccine until more vulnerable people had a chance to get vaccinated.

I urge my colleagues in Congress, under the age of 65 and healthy, to join me, “said the 39-year-old parliamentarian.

Representative Matt Gaetz (R., Florida), 38, redistributed Gabbard, adding“I’m with you Tulsi!”

Representatives Brian Mast (R., Florida) and Chris Jacobs (R., NY) also opposed the fact that they were among the first to receive the vaccine, with the Florida congressman saying that Congress “should no longer be treated. as a special political class. “

With Mast, Omar, Gabbard and Jacobs, Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R., NJ), Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) And Elected Representative Nancy Mace (R., SC) all announced that they would not receive the vaccination in front of health workers and the elderly. Most other parliamentarians take advantage of their priority status.

Colin Schmitt, a member of the New York Republican Assembly, has proposed legislation to prevent elected officials in New York from receiving vaccination before other priority groups.

“No elected official or politician at any level should receive the COVID-19 vaccine before frontline workers, first responders, teachers and vulnerable seniors,” Schmitt said.

“I will introduce legislation for the new session to address this issue, but I urge the governor and the health commissioner to administratively implement this rule immediately in the vaccine distribution plan, given the news that members of Congress have begun receiving vaccines before priority. The New Yorkers did it. “

Vice President Mike Pence, 61, and President-elect Joe Biden, 78, received the first dose of the vaccine on live television in recent days. President Trump has not yet been vaccinated because his doctors are working to figure out the best time for him to receive a shot after receiving experimental antibody treatment when he contracted the virus in October.

“I don’t want to cross the line, but I want to make sure we prove to the American people that it’s safe to take,” Biden said of the decision to get the vaccine.

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