After party leaders in the House and Senate received coronavirus vaccine shots on Friday, other Democrat and Republican members lined up to be vaccinated.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), a doctor, volunteered to get the shot and afterward encouraged his constituents to do the same when it becomes more widely available.
“After the incredibly challenging year we’ve had, I feel very blessed to receive this vaccine,” he said. “I hope that my decision to get it gives my constituents confidence in the safety and efficacy that have been demonstrated in the extensive trials.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) released a statement that he’d be receiving it at the recommendation of the Capitol Hill attending physician. Shortly after, he posted a photo of himself on Twitter getting the shot.
“Grateful for the hard work from the medical community, gov. partners, and others who are working around the clock to deliver a safe & effective #COVID19 vaccine,” Romney wrote. “It’s time for Congress to do its job and finish what our bipartisan group started by passing emergency COVID relief.”
There was some backlash to members of Congress being first in line for the vaccine as they continue to not pass a relief package for Americans struggling economically due to the pandemic.
Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) blasted lawmakers for receiving the vaccine before ordinary Americans, saying in a statement that, “Congress needs to stop treating itself as a special political class, and the mere suggestion that members of Congress are in any way more important than the very people who gave us the privilege of serving in Congress is appalling."
Fellow Floridian Rep. Charlie Crist (D) got the vaccine and said he wants to do his part to slow the spread of the virus.
“This vaccine is a true medical miracle that signals the light at the end of the tunnel we have all been desperately praying for since March," Crist said in a statement.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who also got the shot on Friday, acknowledged that he had received the vaccine before most Americans, but said he hoped doing so would encourage others to do the same.
“I am mindful that millions of Americans are still waiting for shots they will get after me, many of whom are workers on the front lines of this pandemic. I do not believe that I am more important than they are, but as national leaders it is important to lead by example," Beyer said. "Anyone who is given the opportunity to receive this vaccine is given an opportunity to protect people around them, and to fight the spread of this awful virus. Everyone should take this opportunity as soon as they can.“