A bipartisan group of lawmakers plans to delay getting the COVID-19 vaccine — which became available to congressional leaders last week — until all health care workers and people over the age of 65 have had a chance to receive it.
Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii; Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and incoming Rep.-elect Nancy Mace, R-S.C.; indicated they believe it’s inappropriate to receive the inoculation when so many front-line workers struggling to contain the spread of the virus still haven’t.
Gabbard has urged her colleagues under the age of 65 to stand down.
“I had planned to get the vaccine but will now stand in solidarity with our seniors by not doing so until THEY can. I urge my colleagues who are under 65 and healthy to join me,” Gabbard said in a post on Twitter Monday.
Meanwhile, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who is one of the youngest members of Congress at age 31, shared a video online of herself receiving the vaccine and explaining the procedure to her constituents.
Fellow Squad member Omar, however, said getting the treatment before other essential workers would be “shameful.”
“It would make sense if it was age, but unfortunately it’s of importance and it’s shameful. We are not more important [than] frontline workers, teachers, etc., who are making sacrifices every day. Which is why I won’t take it. People who need it most, should get it. Full stop,” Omar, whose father died of the coronavirus, said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Paul, who contracted the virus and recovered, said it would be “inappropriate for me — who has already gotten the virus/has immunity — to get in front of elderly/healthcare workers.”
The attending physician of the U.S. Congress, Brian Patrick Monahan, administered the vaccine to several lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., last week.
Since the start of the pandemic in March, at least 42 members of Congress have tested positive for the virus.