Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) on Friday said that he is not going to receive a COVID-19 vaccine because he is “an American” with the freedom to contract the deadly virus.
In an appearance on Fox News Friday morning, host Neil Cavuto asked Buck if he knew when the vaccine would be made available for lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including himself.
“I will not be taking the vaccine, so I don’t know when they will be giving members vaccines,” said Buck.
“Is that your choice, Congressman?” replied Cavuto.
“It is my choice, I’m an American,” Buck declared. “I have the freedom to decide if I’m going to take a vaccine or not and in this case I am not going to take the vaccine.
Cavuto pressed Buck over why he opposes getting the inoculation.
Buck claimed to be “more concerned about the safety of the vaccine than I am the side effects of the disease” because he is a “healty person” just like “most Americans.”
But in his comments that followed, Buck said that despite his concerns for his own personal safety, the vaccines are good enough to administer to at-risk individuals and healthcare workers, as if they were guinea pigs.
“I think what we should do is focus on the at-risk populations in America, make sure those are the people that get this vaccine first, make sure that the healthcare workers who want the vaccine get the vaccine as soon as possible,” said Buck. “But I am not going to take a vaccine.”
Watch below, courtesy of The Independent:
Hours later, Buck’s comments were also panned by Doctor Jonathan Reiner, a former medical adviser to President George W. Bush, who said that Buck has a responsibility as an elected leader to set an example.
“This is just ignorant, anti-vax, science denialism masquerading as libertarianism,” Reiner said on CNN. “The reason for a congressman to be vaccinated now is not simply to protect him from disease, it’s hopefully to protect his community from transmission. When you vaccinate someone hopefully you’re blocking the transmission of the virus and maybe most importantly now for a Member of Congress is to model the kind of behavior we want their constituents to adopt.”
Buck also got into a Twitter spat with Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who tweeted that while “freedom is cool,” it “also lets Congress keep people out of the Capitol who wish to infect others.”
Buck responded by hurling unrelated and unsubstantiated insults at Swalwell.
“My point was at-risk individuals should be prioritized before members of Congress,” wrote Buck. “While I have you, did you sleep with a Chinese spy or not? Seems like an important question for someone who sits on House Intel.”
“I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time,” said Trump, The New York Times has reported.
My point was at-risk individuals should be prioritized before members of Congress.
While I have you, did you sleep with a Chinese spy or not?
Seems like an important question for someone who sits on House Intel. https://t.co/g3OmHlLqQu
— Rep. Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) December 18, 2020
In the mean time, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence were inoculated against the coronavirus on live television on Friday.
President-Elect Joe Biden and future First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are scheduled to get their shots next week.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, who both contracted COVID-19 in October, have said publicly that they have not finalized any plans to get vaccinated.
“His priority is frontline workers, those in long-term care facilities, and he wants to make sure that the vulnerable get access first,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said earlier this week. She added, however, that “it will be a very limited group of people who have access to it, initially,” among White House staffers.
Thirty-one days until the inauguration.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.