GOP Lawmakers With Medical Backgrounds Encourage People to Get Covid Vaccine

A group of GOP lawmakers with backgrounds as medical professionals launched a public service campaign Tuesday to encourage people to get Covid-19 vaccinations as polls show a substantial minority of Republicans are resisting getting the shot.

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, a physician, said that vaccine hesitancy in his home state is one of the reasons that he wanted to take part in the campaign, which was initiated by Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, who is also a medical doctor.

“You want to get kind of blanket immunity. You want to have enough people to have had vaccinations, and they’re not perfect but they’re pretty darn good,” Barrasso said in an interview. “And that’s the way out of it.”

The centerpiece of their campaign is a video. Also appearing in the video, which was produced by Republican congressional staff, are Senator John Boozman of Arkansas and Representatives Greg Murphy, Buddy Carter, Larry Bucshon, John Joyce, Brian Babin, Andy Harris and Michael Burgess. Four of them appear in white lab coats.

Their message emphasizes the freedom to resume normal activities that will come from widespread vaccination and that no steps were skipped in developing and approving the vaccines.

“I hope you’ll join me along with over 100 million Americans in choosing to receive the vaccine so we can throw away our masks and live life as free as we did before,” the senators and representatives said in the public service announcement.

The GOP campaign began on the same day that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that fully vaccinated Americans don’t have to wear masks when exercising, dining and socializing outdoors in small groups. President Joe Biden also used the occasion to encourage vaccination.

Vaccine hesitancy has been seen as a roadblock to the U.S. achieving herd immunity against Covid 19. About 141 million Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, but the pace of U.S. shots has fallen under 3 million per day despite abundant supply.

According to a NBC News poll released Sunday, 45% of Republicans said they have already been vaccinated or plan to be soon compared to 82% of Democrats. Another 10% of Republicans said they will only be vaccinated it if is required and nearly a quarter said they wouldn’t get vaccinated at all.

Aside from the lawmakers in the public service campaign, other prominent Republicans urging Americans to get vaccinated have included former President Donald Trump.

But Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, said earlier this month that he was “skeptical” of the “big push” on vaccinations.

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