While many lawmakers were vaccinated against COVID-19 on Friday, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said he wasn’t going to join them.
“I’m more concerned about the safety of the vaccine than I am of the side effects of the disease,” Buck said during an appearance on Fox News.
“I’m a healthy person. And I think most Americans are healthy. I think what we should do is we should focus on the at risk populations in America, make sure those are the people that get this vaccine first, make sure that the health care workers who want the vaccine get the vaccine as soon as possible, but I am not going to take a vaccine,” he added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were among the members of Congress who were vaccinated at the U.S. Capitol with the newly approved shot from Pfizer and BioNTech. Vice President Mike Pence received the shot earlier Friday.
Most injections done this week have gone smoothly but there were several serious incidents, including two healthcare workers who experienced allergic reactions and a nurse who fainted after getting vaccinated.
Buck said it was his choice not to get a vaccine.
“I’m an American, I have the freedom to decide if I’m going to take a vaccine or not,” he said.
Buck spoke hours before the Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of a second vaccine, from Moderna.
U.S. officials expect to vaccinate 20 million Americans this month and approximately 30 million more next month.
Both vaccines require two doses, spaced about three weeks apart.
Buck praised the approval, calling it “great news” and encouraging frontline workers and people at-risk to get vaccinated immediately.
“I celebrate the fact that the private sector has stepped in to create a lifesaving vaccine for COVID-19. This is an incredible feat that should be applauded. Like the polio vaccine, this vaccine will save lives,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I encourage frontline workers, healthcare professionals, and at-risk populations to get the vaccine. We need to prioritize these populations and make sure the most vulnerable get the vaccine first. Members of Congress should not get special treatment. It’s not right for us to skip the line and receive the vaccine before at-risk populations and healthcare workers.”