The number of U.S. senators who’ve said they’re not planning to get a Covid shot is down to three, after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Tuesday he’d be getting vaccinated this week—here are the senators who are still skeptical of getting vaccinated.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)—who is a physician—has still not been vaccinated, spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper told Forbes, since Paul already had Covid-19 and “believes there are many millions of other Americans who should receive the vaccine ahead of him.”
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) told the Indianapolis Star he’s considering getting the vaccine, but he’s also expressed concerns over ties vaccinations have to abortion-derived cell lines.
Like Paul, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) says he hasn’t gotten a shot because he already had Covid and believes he is immune, saying those who haven’t been infected “need it more than I do.”
Scott, who also had Covid, told The Washington Post Tuesday he’s decided to get a shot this week after consulting with his doctor, adding, “I hope everybody gets their vaccine.”
What We Don’t Know
It’s not clear how many members of the House of Representatives still haven’t been vaccinated. It was widely reported last month that about a quarter of House members hadn’t yet been vaccinated, despite representatives having ample access to vaccines.
36.4%. That’s the percentage of the U.S. population that’s been given at least one Covid shot, according to a Bloomberg tracker. More than 22% of Americans are now fully vaccinated.
Vaccine hesitancy is a growing issue as vaccine access is now open to all adults across much of the United States. Polling has shown Republicans and Trump voters as by far the group most likely to refuse a Covid vaccine, with an NPR/PBS/Marist poll last month showing almost half (49%) of Republican men saying they didn’t plan to get a coronavirus shot. But the arguments many make against getting a shot have been widely shut down by public health experts, including the ones made by Paul and Johnson. Health officials say the best way to end the pandemic and to protect oneself against Covid is to be vaccinated, even if previously infected. Numerous studies have also shown the vaccines to be both extremely safe and effective.
The top Senate Republican—Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—has urged Republican men to get vaccinated, saying there’s “no good argument” against it.
Former President Donald Trump was vaccinated in January despite having Covid in October and saying he was “immune.”
New Government: 117th Congress with Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) (The Washington Post)