On the same day Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a video of herself getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Rep. Ilhan Omar said that it was “shameful” for young lawmakers to take coronavirus vaccines.
Omar is one of the few members of Congress saying they will forego their privilege to get vaccinated early. The representative expressed her opinion on the topic on the same day that AOC put a video of herself getting the COVID-19 vaccine on Instagram.
“It’s now clear that we don’t have enough vaccines for everyone, and there is (a) shortage of supply. We have to prioritize those who need it most,” Omar wrote on Twitter. “That’s why it’s disturbing to see members be first to get (the) vaccine while most frontline workers, elderly, and infirm in our districts wait.”
The representative, whose father died due to COVID-19, has continually expressed that frontline workers, not politicians, should be the first ones receiving COVID-19 vaccines.
“The White House and their staff being prioritized in a time where so many people are being devastated by the coronavirus really is unfortunate, disappointing, and disturbing,” Omar said on CNN.
A tweet from Anand Giridharadas asking if political leaders are receiving vaccines because of age or importance prompted responses from both Reps. Omar and Ocasio-Cortez.
AOC said that the “actual answer” is a matter of policy.
“The actual answer to your question lies in the National Security Council, which is where that decision was made in compliance with Presidential Policy Directive-40,” wrote AOC. “That policy was put in place in 2016 and established certain requirements for continuity of governance.”
Rep. Omar’s response was that it is “shameful” for congress to receive preferential treatment.
“It would make sense if it was age, but unfortunately it’s of importance and it’s shameful,” Omar wrote on Twitter. “We are not more important (than) 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.”