SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Utah and healthcare workers across the state and country are beginning to receive the vaccination. It has long been understood that healthcare workers who have and are battling COVID-19 on the frontlines would receive the vaccine first but now we are seeing politicians, not just from Utah, but from around the country, receive vaccinations. But how?
Senator Mitt Romney received the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, and released the following statement before he received it:
“The attending physician’s office has now informed all senators that for continuity of government purposes, we are to receive vaccination and that there is no reason to delay,” Senator Romney said. “In accordance with this directive, I will receive the vaccine. I will also continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings in line with public health guidance.
While Sen. Romney has received the vaccine, Sen. Mike Lee’s office sent ABC4 News a statement saying, “Sen. Lee plans to get the vaccine eventually but because he is relatively young and has already had COVID, he sees no need to get the vaccine earlier than most Americans of his age and health cohort.”
Other politicians/public figures across the nation who have received the vaccine include Vice President Mike Pence, President-elect Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Locally, former Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis claimed that state ‘VIPs’ and their families would be getting the vaccine first to which then led to State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn confronting Dabakis saying that that isn’t true in the state of Utah.
The Boston Globe reports that Attending Physician of the United States Congress Dr. Brian P. Monahan has said that he strongly recommends all members of Congress to receive a vaccination.
But many are criticizing whether or not politicians should receive the vaccine before elderly people and the millions of front-line healthcare workers.
Politicians across the country are speaking out on why they decided to not accept a COVID-19 vaccine at this time and are against other politicians receiving the vaccine right now.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu recently tweeted, “It’s ridiculous that Congress is cutting in line ahead of folks in Long Term Care. I’ll be the first in line to get the vaccine when it’s my turn.”
Congressman Brian Mast from Florida has been vocal on the issue as well, “Congress needs to stop treating itself like a special political class,” and “What a disgrace. Leaders eat last. All Americans should have access to the vaccine before Congress!”
While the attending physician to Congress suggested that all members receive the vaccine, the White House called Vice President Pence’s vaccination a chance to ‘build confidence among Americans’.
President-elect Joe Biden also took the vaccine and afterward said, “To the scientists and researchers who worked tirelessly to make this possible — thank you. We owe you an awful lot. And to the American people — know there is nothing to worry about. When the vaccine is available, I urge you to take it.”
Healthcare workers across Utah have been receiving the vaccine since the vaccine’s arrival in the state last week. On coronavirus.utah.gov, the state provides a timeline of who gets the vaccine and when.
The first in line in Utah are high-risk environment healthcare workers in December. Come January, remaining healthcare personnel will receive the vaccine along with assisted living residents and healthcare workers, and those in long-term care facilities. School staff, EMS, first responders, and public health workers will also get the vaccine in January.
Come February and March, it is hoped that all long-term care facility staff and residents who have not yet been vaccinated receive it.
After those groups of people, from March-July the state hopes to have all Utahns vaccinated in this order:
- Tribal Entities
- Utahns 65 years of age and older
- Employees with a risk level 3 (childcare personnel, personal care, airline workers, etc.)
- Racial and ethnic groups at higher-risk, food Prep, Utahns with underlying medical conditions
- Other Utahns within the risk level model
- Remaining workers in risk level 2 & 3 categories
- All Utahns