Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) took a drastically different position on the coronavirus vaccine being made available to members of Congress than her fellow “Squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), stating lawmakers are “not more important” than frontline workers.
The Minnesota lawmaker responded to a question posed by Anand Giridharadas, publisher of The.Ink newsletter, who asked, “Is seemingly our entire top political leadership getting the vaccine ahead of others because of their age or their importance?”
“It would makes [sic] sense if it was age, but unfortunately it’s of importance,” Omar said in a tweet, calling it “shameful.”
“We are not more important then [sic] frontline workers, teachers etc. who are making sacrifices everyday. Which is why I won’t take it. People who need it most, should get it. Full stop,” she added:
It would makes sense if it was age, but unfortunately it’s of importance and its shameful.
We are not more important then frontline workers, teachers etc. who are making sacrifices everyday.
Which is why I won’t take it.
People who need it most, should get it.
Full stop. https://t.co/JQgMftm5wX
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 20, 2020
Notably, Ocasio-Cortez also responded to the tweet, defending the decision as a national security policy focused on the “continuity of governance”:
If it was within indiv power to “give” the vaccine to someone else, I would! But according to these protocols, there’s a chance it could have just been stored.
There’s also a real risk in this age of misinfo of how it would be weaponized if leaders refused to take it en masse
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 20, 2020
The 31-year-old New York Democrat posted a video of herself receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine over the weekend and offered a similar defense for receiving it to her massive social media following.
“I was expecting we’re going to get it a lot later,” she said. “But– and healthcare workers for the record, health care workers have started to receive it.”
“Not everybody obviously yet has been vaccinated but when it comes to Congress’s access, it’s due to something [called] continuity of governance planning, which is essentially national security planning,” she continued.
“So this actually came from a national security policy and directive to ensure continuity of governance during national emergencies,” Ocasio-Cortez, who remains in a lower-risk age group, added:
AOC explains why she, a 31-year-old congresswoman, received a vaccine before more vulnerable populations pic.twitter.com/Tw4IV68uEa
— Hannah Bleau 🌻 (@hannahbleau_) December 21, 2020
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who contracted the Chinese coronavirus earlier this year, is among lawmakers who have expressed disgust of the prospect of receiving the vaccine before more vulnerable populations, calling it “inappropriate.”
“It is inappropriate for me – who has already gotten the virus/has immunity – to get in front of elderly/healthcare workers,” Paul said. “Same goes for AOC or any young healthy person. They should be among last, not first”:
I was asked about getting vaccinated with others in Congress:
It is inappropriate for me – who has already gotten the virus/has immunity – to get in front of elderly/healthcare workers.
Same goes for AOC or any young healthy person. They should be among last, not first.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 21, 2020