Congress to receive 1st doses of coronavirus vaccine

Capitol physician Brian Monahan told them the vaccines were on the way, outlining some of the process.

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Congressional leaders will receive their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine in days. 

Capitol physician Brian Monahan informed lawmakers via letter that the vaccines were coming to Capitol Hill and outlined some of how the process would work. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (left), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (center), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (right) and others from Congress walk outside the U.S. Capitol in July. (Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images)

Congressional members are encouraged to schedule an appointment to receive their shots. They will soon be followed by “continuity-essential staff members,” like campus police and other essential workers, in getting vaccinated. 

“My recommendation to you is absolutely unequivocal: there is no reason why you should defer receiving this vaccine,” Monahan wrote. “The benefit far exceeds any small risk.”

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Leaders in both the House and Senate expressed their intention to make vaccination a priority.

“With confidence in the vaccine and at the direction of the Attending Physician, I plan to receive the vaccine in the next few days,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, adding, “It is imperative that we ensure that the vaccine will be free and delivered in a fair, equitable manner to as many Americans as soon as possible.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted the importance of Congressional leaders being vaccinated to ensure the continuity of government. Their spouses and family members, however, will not get shots from this limited supply. 

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The decision of whether or not to vaccinate political leaders is a tricky one. According to some polls, many Americans are against the idea of a “special treatment” when it comes to vaccination. 

But many American lawmakers are in high-risk groups due to their advanced ages, plus the nature of their jobs requires travel and lots of human interaction. 

“I don’t want to break the line,” says Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate minority whip, also noting lawmakers travel more frequently than most Americans. “And I think because of that vulnerability, it should be taken into consideration.”

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Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams will be vaccinated on live television today. 

The White House has not confirmed when or if President Donald Trump will be vaccinated. President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly due to receive a shot publicly sometime next week. 

Read More: Biden to get COVID-19 vaccine publicly by next week

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all say they will receive coronavirus vaccines and record the moment to convince Americans of their efficacy.

“I may take it on TV or have it filmed so people know that I trust this science,” Obama recently told SiriusXM’s The Joe Madison Show. “What I don’t trust is getting COVID.”

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