Updated Dec 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Lawmakers receive COVID-19 vaccine

Pelosi and McConnell

McConnell (L) and Pelosi (R). Photo: J. Scott Applewhite - Pool/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) received their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from the attending physician of Congress on Friday.

The latest: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) received the first dose of the vaccine on Saturday, saying afterwards, "[a]s the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue wearing masks and engage in social distancing. That is how we will beat this virus and end this terrible pandemic.”

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) posted a photo on Twitter as he received the vaccine on Saturday, adding that "[i]f enough of us take it, we will get back to normal lives."
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he received the vaccine on Saturday, tweeting that the "vaccine is safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to take it as it becomes available."
  • The office of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), chair of the oversight subcommittee tasked with looking at the coronavirus crisis, told Axios' Kadia Goba that he received the vaccine at 4 p.m. Friday.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) posted a photo on Twitter as he received the vaccine Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Members of Congress, many of whom are elderly and in high-risk categories, are among the first people in the U.S. eligible to begin receiving the vaccine. Pelosi at age 80 and McConnell at age 78 — are both at risk of severe infections from the coronavirus.

  • They are among the highest-ranking government officials to have received the vaccine, joining Vice President Mike Pence, who got the vaccine publicly earlier on Friday.
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