WASHINGTON — Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey on Saturday morning received their first doses of the vaccine for COVID-19.
“At the advice of the Office of the Attending Physician for the continuity of government, we both received the first of two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday,” the Massachusetts Democrats said in a joint statement. “The vaccine is safe, effective, and will save lives.”
All members of Congress are eligible to get the vaccine right away. Warren and Markey, who are spending the weekend in Washington as lawmakers wrangle over an economic relief bill, are the latest among a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have publicly announced their vaccinations in an effort to stave off skepticism about the vaccines, which were approved for emergency use this month.
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Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated on live television on Friday. The same day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Twitter that he had received his first dose, as did Senator Mitt Romney, another Republican. Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York have also announced they got vaccinated and encouraged the public to do the same.
Representative Katherine Clark of Melrose got her first dose Saturday morning, too. As of early Saturday afternoon, Representatives Richard Neal, Lori Trahan, and Stephen Lynch had yet to receive it. The offices of the other members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation did not immediately respond to questions about the vaccine.
President Trump has touted the speed with which vaccines have been developed, and his administration has been eager to take credit for Operation Warp Speed, the program they created to offer funding and support to vaccine developers.
He has not, however, used his platform to urge the public to take it, unlike Pence and other members of his party.
The vaccine is being rolled out — and offering Americans some hope — at a grim moment in the pandemic. The virus has killed more than 300,000 Americans, and more than 250,000 new cases were reported Friday. Wednesday was the deadliest day since the onset of the pandemic, with 3,611 deaths reported, according to a database maintained by the New York Times.
“We will continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and work to make sure vaccines are made widely available and administered equitably to health care workers, essential workers, teachers, medically underserved communities, and the rest of our nation at no cost and as soon as possible,” Warren and Markey said in their statement. “The vaccine is a testament to all we can achieve when we listen to scientists, follow the advice of public health experts, and come together as a country.”
Warren’s oldest brother, Don Reed Herring, died of COVID-19 in April.