Several prominent GOP lawmakers have yet to receive a vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus despite the fact it has been offered to them, with some expressing skepticism and others contending it is unnecessary, as they had already contracted the virus.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) created a buzz after receiving a vaccine shortly after they became available in December. Some of her Democrat colleagues, such as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), refused, contending that vulnerable groups should be prioritized before members of Congress.
Since then, however, many prominent politicians on both sides of the political aisle have received the vaccine, including Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Others, however, are continuing to refuse. According to the Hill, the lawmakers who have refused have cited a number of reasons, from worries of jumping ahead of constituents to concerns of the health risks posed by the new vaccines. Others, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), do not see it as necessary as they have previously contracted and recovered from the Chinese coronavirus.
“I have not chosen to be vaccinated because I got it naturally and the science of 30 million people — and the statistical validity of a 30 million sample — is pretty overwhelming that natural immunity exists and works,” Paul, who contracted the virus last year, said.
He has since acted as an outspoken critic of the narratives that have emerged over the last few months, particularly in terms of how vaccinated people should behave in regards to public health measures.
He told the Ingraham Angle last month:
The thing is, they don’t prove that that happens. They just say, unless you can prove the opposite, you can’t be free and you have to be huddled in your basement wearing a mask. And I’m the opposite, you get your vaccine, you’ve had your second dose, you’re two weeks out, throw away your mask. If you’ve had the disease and you’re a young person, go to restaurants, go out and visit with your friends, do not hunker down in a basement by yourself, go to school, by all means, let’s get back to normal. And let’s treat this with circumspection the idea that the risks should be according to the individual.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) struck a similar tone, stating he has already contracted the virus. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has also contracted the virus and has yet to receive the vaccine.
“I’m still looking at it, I’m listening to my doctor,” he said, according to the Hill.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) is among those who expressed concern over jumping ahead of more vulnerable populations, although he backs the vaccine efforts and said he intends to get one himself.
Roughly 75 percent of House members have been vaccinated. In a letter, McCarthy used the statistic to declare it is now time for Congress to return to “regular order.”
A Harvard CAPS-Harris poll survey released this month showed 41 percent of Americans remain unwilling to receive a vaccine, although a majority, 59 percent, are willing. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the U.S. needs 70-85 percent of the population vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) March 16 data, 110,737,856 shots have been administered in the U.S.