As Americans eagerly await their chance to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, some public figures are urging individuals who are healthy and eligible to get the vaccine to wait so that elderly Americans can access it.
In a tweet on Thursday. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) asked “every healthy individual under 65” to “a stand for the lives of our kupuna.”
Kupuna is a Hawaiian word that refers to elders or grandparents.
She also urged her constituent to call the governor and lieutenant governor and “ask them to protect our kupuna by allowing them to get the vaccine before younger/healthy people.”
To every healthy individual under 65, join me in taking a stand for the lives of our kupuna, call/email/tweet at Gov Ige and LG Green. Ask them to protect our kupuna by allowing them to get the vaccine before younger/healthy people.
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) December 31, 2020
As vaccines are being distributed, the first group who are recommended to have access to the vaccine are healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The next group who are recommended to have access to the vaccine are individuals aged 75 and older, and essential workers, which include law enforcement, first responders, teachers, grocery store workers, and other workers who helped keep the economy going throughout the pandemic.
Members of Congress have been getting doses of the vaccine at the urging of the Capitol physician due to continuity of government concerns. While members of Congressional leadership lined up, many of whom are considered to be in high-risk categories because of their age, members of Congress who are under 65 have also been receiving the vaccine.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), 31, streamed the process of her getting her first dose to help build confidence in the vaccine. However, she received criticism for taking the vaccine before it is widely available for younger Americans.
In a separate tweet, Gabbard urged members of Congress to wait to get the vaccine, “I’m calling on every member of Congress & their staff, and all millennials/Gen Xers, to join me in refusing to take the COVID vaccine until after our parents & grandparents can get it.”
“Put our seniors over 65 first. They are the most vulnerable to serious illness or death,” she added.
I'm calling on every member of Congress & their staff, and all millennials/Gen Xers, to join me in refusing to take the COVID vaccine until after our parents & grandparents can get it. Put our seniors over 65 first. They are the most vulnerable to serious illness or death.
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) January 1, 2021
Addressing the charge that she was fueling concerns about the vaccine, she wrote, “In other places, seniors who want and need the vaccine are standing in line to get it and being turned away. Leaders should prioritize seniors over 65 along with frontline healthcare workers and first responders to get the vaccine, ahead of younger healthy workers.”
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R) said he is willing to take the vaccine, and “I’m an elected official but whoop dee doo.”
“At the end of the day, let’s focus on where the risk is,” he added.
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