Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has censured her fellow lawmakers for rushing to get coronavirus vaccine shots ahead of frontline medical workers and the vulnerable populations, such as senior citizens.
As members of US Congress began to receive doses as part of a campaign to allay the concerns of sceptics over the vaccine's safety, Omar said on Twitter that it was "shameful" for lawmakers to be prioritised for the vaccine and explained why she would not take it yet.
The congresswoman had earlier made similar comments in an interview with CNN last week, denouncing the prioritising of White House staff as "disturbing."
Leading by Example
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as Omar’s fellow 'Squad' member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, also received vaccinations.
Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine. As the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue mask wearing, social distancing & other science-based steps to save lives & crush the virus. pic.twitter.com/tijVCSnJd7— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 18, 2020
The public display is meant to encourage Americans to seek coronavirus shots, with Vice President Mike Pence, Surgeon General Jerome Adams and President-elect Joe Biden leading by example. Biden received his first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday during a televised event at Delaware's ChristianaCare Hospital.
WATCH: President-elect Biden receives Covid-19 vaccine. pic.twitter.com/FHtA9QZze8— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 21, 2020
On the same day, Moderna's vaccine began arriving at locations in several US states ahead of a vaccination rollout.
However, some lawmakers share Omar’s opinion and were reluctant to be among the first to be vaccinated.
Others have enthusiastically made appointments for their inoculations.
If you have any questions or unease about the COVID vaccine, I got you!— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 19, 2020
I’d *never* ask you to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself.
Yday per national security policy (PPD40), Congress began getting vaccinated.
I took the jab & am here to answer your questions. Ask away! pic.twitter.com/ZyBgXi7kRl
Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia tweeted that she'd agreed to take her shot in the hopes that it would be an example for others to follow suit and shelve their doubts.
Upon the recommendation of the attending physician, I received a coronavirus vaccine this afternoon.— Don Beyer (@DonBeyerVA) December 18, 2020
Tens of millions of Americans are still waiting for the vaccine. I do not believe I am more important than they are, but it is important for Congress to lead by example.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, who is scheduled to receive the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday, earlier recommended that President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden receive the vaccine as soon as possible for security and safety reasons.
Donald Trump, who contracted the virus in October, has stalled over the COVID jab, and previously said he believed that White House staff should receive doses later in the rollout programme. The Surgeon General previously explained that Trump has not received the vaccine because he was treated with monoclonal antibodies.
As the rollouts of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are very much in the early stages, individual states are largely responsible for making the coronavirus vaccine available to residents over the coming months, with most opting to prioritise vulnerable populations, such as nursing home residents and essential frontline workers.
Both vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration have shown an efficacy of over 94 percent and require individuals to return to a health professional for a second dose to ensure they are protected against the respiratory disease.