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Ilhan Omar says she won't get vaccine: 'People who need it most, should get it'

Ilhan Omar says she won't get vaccine: 'People who need it most, should get it'
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarFree Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech Schumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands White House raises refugee cap to 62,500 MORE (D-Minn.) broke with other members of "the squad" on Monday by deciding to not get a coronavirus vaccine available to members of Congress, saying it was “shameful” that political leaders got the vaccine due to their “importance.”

Anand Giridharadas, publisher of the political newsletter The.Ink, tweeted on Sunday, “Serious question. Is seemingly our entire top political leadership getting the vaccine ahead of others because of their age or their importance??”

“It would makes sense if it was age, but unfortunately it’s of importance and its shameful,” responded Omar in a retweet of Giridharadas’s question. “We are not more important then frontline workers, teachers etc. who are making sacrifices everyday. Which is why I won’t take it. People who need it most, should get it. Full stop.”

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Outgoing Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFox News says network and anchor Leland Vittert have 'parted ways' New co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials Tulsi Gabbard blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as 'height of hypocrisy' MORE (D-Hawaii) also said earlier Monday that she would not be getting the vaccine until after elderly Americans were immunized.

Other members of "the squad," a group of four progressive lawmakers all elected to Congress in 2018, including Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBattle lines drawn over Biden's support for vaccine waivers Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations The Memo: The GOP's war is already over — Trump won MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Genetic material from 1993 killing revealed years after another man executed for crime, groups say Advocates warn against complacency after Chauvin verdict MORE (D-Mass.), have gotten the vaccine and encouraged others to take it once it becomes widely available.

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Ocasio-Cortez also replied to Giridharadas’s tweet, writing, “The actual answer to your question lies in the National Security Council, which is where that decision was made in compliance with Presidential Policy Directive-40. That policy was put in place in 2016 and established certain requirements for continuity of governance.”

As the first Somali American to be elected to Congress, Omar's refusal to get the vaccine could discourage others in the Somali American community from getting it, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes there is already a hesitancy among its members.

Ocasio-Cortez detailed the vaccine live on her Instagram account on Saturday, explaining that members of Congress are "urged to take it" as part of the "continuity of governance plan."

 
Other high-ranking political leaders have been vaccinated, including Vice President Pence, who received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine along with second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PencePences announce birth of first grandchild Can a common bond of service unite our nation? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - House boots Greene from committees; Senate plows ahead on budget MORE on Friday.
 
 
“I am doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine,” said Biden. “There’s nothing to worry about.”
 
Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as White House continues to push vaccination effort Biden confronts limits of big government with COVID-19 Watch live: White House holds briefing with COVID-19 response team MORE, the nation's top infectious disease expert, is expected to receive the first dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine along with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday.