Actress and activist Sophia Bush stressed the importance of young people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 during testimony Thursday before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, arguing that “medicine is not partisan.”
When asked by Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHouse passes bill to expand workplace protections for nursing mothers House Oversight Democrats ask NFL for information from investigation into Washington Football Team New York City helicopter complaints skyrocket MORE (D-N.Y.) what message she has for young people on getting vaccinated, Bush said that while the common narrative early in the pandemic was that the virus mostly affected older populations, experts now know “that’s simply not true.”
The former star of the hit TV show “One Tree Hill” said that vaccines “will save lives and in particular it will allow young people to get back to the futures that they’re pursuing.”
During the hearing, the activist also highlighted the importance of overcoming vaccine hesitancy, especially amid the spread of more transmissible variants of the virus.
“According to research, the largest groups of unvaccinated people exist in two communities: communities of color and rural populations,” Bush said in her testimony. “There have been concerted disinformation and misinformation campaigns by anti-vaccine leaders to discourage both of these communities from vaccinating themselves against COVID-19."
“We cannot allow people dubbed a threat to the nation by our own intelligence agencies, no matter if they are anonymous internet marauders or members of this very governing body, to peddle disinformation that keeps us from protecting ourselves and others,” Bush said.
“Medicine is not partisan. Science is not partisan,” she continued. “Public health must be supported — to the best of this nation’s ability — by non-partisan political will.
“It’s on all of us to remind our loved ones that this pandemic is not over,” Bush said. “New variants — including the more transmissible delta variant — are circulating at an alarming rate.”
Bush’s testimony comes a day after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskySunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters GOP leaders escalate battle against COVID-19 vaccine mandates Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Study finds Pfizer vaccine almost 91 percent effective for 5 to 11 year olds MORE said those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are at a significantly decreased risk of getting sick from the delta variant first identified in India.
As of Thursday, roughly 64 percent of Americans ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with 55 percent fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Bush is not the first actor who has testified before Congress in an effort to boost vaccination rates across the country.
In May, actor Nick Offerman, known for playing the anti-government character Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation,” testified during a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee hearing, labeling himself as a small-business owner and “proud Midwesterner.”
“Medicine doesn’t care who you voted for,” he said at the time. “We amazing humans have created a vaccine that serves the common good. The vaccine doesn’t take sides, unless you count alive vs. dead.”