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Inside why all lawmakers still aren’t vaccinated after months of access to shots on the Hill

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Through a nationwide survey and interviews, CNN has contacted Capitol Hill offices to try to get a clearer picture of where vaccination gaps still exist.

CNN confirmed that 189 of 219 Democrats in the House have been vaccinated. One Democrat confirmed he had not been vaccinated, but planned to do so and there were 29 Democrats for whom CNN received no response.

CNN also confirmed that 53 House Republicans out of 211 have been vaccinated. Thirteen Republicans told CNN that they have not been vaccinated or even as many said they planned to do. CNN received no response from 145 House Republicans.

The poll comes as health officials across the country encourage Americans to get vaccinated and how frustration increases to restore the House, which has extended the length of each vote to allow social distancing, to a form of operation more regular.

With a small number of responses from House Republicans, CNN attempted to interview GOP lawmakers in Capitol halls about its vaccine status. A handful of members told CNN that they should even be asked for a HIPAA violation. HIPAA applies to health care providers, who are prohibited from sharing personal information about the health of their patients without consent, and not to people who willingly share their information.

“Isn’t that a HIPAA violation?” Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said when asked about her vaccine status.

“I don’t know if I should tell you,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma. “I won’t answer.”

“That’s not appropriate,” Rep. Jason Smith, a Missouri Republican, intervened as he listened to the question.

Later, when Smith was asked about their vaccination status, he replied, “The fact that you’re asking them for health information, I think, is really unacceptable.”

Still, while CNN found that Democratic offices were much closer on the vaccine status of their leaders, several Republicans were equally passionate about having them shoot themselves, their members, and their members.

“I talk about it a lot,” said Rep. Richard Hudson, a North Carolina Republican who has been vaccinated, adding that he worked with his local hospital system to produce a campaign with his vaccine card, trying to give a example. “There are some people who are concerned about safety and I want to encourage people to get vaccinated.”

Rep. Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, said he believes it is important for members to do everything possible to try to make their members feel comfortable receiving the vaccine, and that includes disclosing their own vaccination status.

“If we want the country to improve, we should say,” Burgess, who is a doctor, said of the vaccine status of lawmakers. “The country will not improve until people are vaccinated.”

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan attacked colleagues who had refused inoculation months after the vaccine was available to them.

“The first thing I would tell them is that they grow up. I mean, this is science, this is health, it’s a national pandemic and we’re trying to work here to deal with it. And the idea that, because of their own political vanity, they are not willing to do anything to protect themselves, grow their neighbors, their families, their colleagues, to make some kind of strange political statement. That is what I would tell them, “Kildee said.

“We are not a privileged class”

Across the country, vaccination of vaccines has become a major obstacle for public health advocates trying to quickly get the country back to normal. In a CNN poll published earlier this month, 92% of Democrats said they had received a dose of the vaccine or planned to take it, while only 50% of Republicans said the same. In Congress, vaccines could be key to loosening security restrictions that have hampered regular conduct of business by the House and Senate.

Currently, the House holds open votes for approximately 45 minutes to limit the number of individuals on the plant at any given time. It is unclear if and when this practice will change.

“I mean if they were vaccinated, we could reduce the time to vote to vote and that, hopefully, would be a motivation for more of them to get vaccinated,” Nancy Pelosi, president of television, told TV on Wednesday. the room.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Capitol on December 18th.

The CNN poll found 14 members of the House who confirmed they had not been vaccinated: a Democrat – Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire – and 13 Republicans, representing Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, Kat Cammack of Florida, Elise Stefanik of New York, Gus Bilirakis of Florida, James Comer of Kentucky, Brian Mast of Florida, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Ken Buck of Colorado, Michael Waltz of Florida and Dan Crenshaw of Texas.

Many of these, however, argued that they had waited because they did not want to “skip the line” and planned to get vaccinated.

“We’re members of Congress, but we’re not a privileged class,” Duncan said, noting that he gets vaccinated Tuesday.

“I’m expecting people. I’m old, but I’m not the oldest yet, so I’m waiting for everyone else who is older to be vaccinated,” said Jordan, who is 57 years old. “I’m not in a hurry”.

The Pappas office also said the Democrat planned to get vaccinated.

Some Republicans did not make that promise. A Cawthorn spokesman told CNN that the freshman would “make that decision in consultation with his doctor.”

And Massie told CNN he had no plans to get vaccinated at all because he already had the virus.

“I have recovery immunity,” Massie said, adding that he would not be vaccinated. “Unless there is evidence to prove it beneficial, there is no reason to get it.”

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people who had the virus to still get vaccinated.

Fleischmann said he had refused to get vaccinated in December because he believed it was wrong to go ahead of others who wanted the vaccine and needed it most urgently. In January, he said he had the virus. Now, he said he’s not sure if he’ll ever get the vaccine.

“I don’t know yet. I want to make sure that all the United States that wants it can get it before me. I didn’t want to get at the head of the line. I’m encouraging everyone to get it,” he said. Republican of Tennessee.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has increasingly pressured Democratic leadership to restore regular order after the House took unprecedented steps to make voting more secure in the midst of the pandemic. In a letter to Pelosi last week, McCarthy noted that approximately 75% of the House had been vaccinated and said it was time to end the delegation vote, a practice where members can vote remotely. The Assistant Physician’s Office did not return any requests for comments on the percentage of vaccinated members.

Voting by delegation has long been a goal of Republican leaders despite that some GOP members have used it. Democratic leaders have not said when this practice would end.

“I’m not going to address the hypothetical possibility that we still don’t have in terms of what the discussion among House Democrats shows and reveals and what the public health guidelines may be,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a member. of Democratic leadership, he told CNN.

Vaccines in the Senate

In the Senate, all Democrats have been vaccinated, as have the vast majority of Republicans. Five Republicans – Mr. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Braun of Indiana, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rick Scott of Florida and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota – confirmed to CNN that they have not been vaccinated.

Cramer told CNN he plans to get vaccinated after the recess that begins later this month. Scott told CNN that he hoped more people would be vaccinated in Florida, but that he plans to get it. Braun told CNN that he also planned to take the vaccine, but that he expected “more information.”

Both Johnson and Paul have had coronavirus and argued that the antibodies they have are protective against severe reinfection even though the CDC has been warning people they don’t know how long immunity lasts.

“I thought I was doing everyone a favor,” Johnson told CNN in a phone call Monday. “I don’t think any of this is a well-established science, but the reason I’m not vaccinated yet is that I had Covid and even when I had it, I had a mild case … Now I’m being attacked for being anti-science. It amazes my mind. “

Ted Barrett, Daniella Diaz, Annie Grayer and Sergio Hernandez contributed to this report.

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