The Capitol physician announced the vaccine rollout for lawmakers and essential members on Capitol Hill on Thursday evening, urging members to vaccinate.
In a memo released Thursday night, Dr. Brian Monahan said that the number of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to be administered on Capitol Hill as part of the continuity of government operations will only be a fraction of the first wave going out around the country.
“My recommendation to you is absolutely unequivocal: there is no reason why you should defer receiving this vaccine. The benefit far exceeds any small risk,” Dr. Monahan wrote.
His memo noted that the Supreme Court and executive branch agencies will also have access to the vaccine.
Members were told to schedule two the first of two doses, and after lawmakers are covered, the physician’s office will begin “a process to identify the continuity-essential staff members” in the coming weeks.
More than 40 members of Congress have either tested positive, gone into self-quarantine, or been exposed to COVID-19 since the outbreak began.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, tightened health safety protocols earlier this week, warning lawmakers that masks are to be worn in the House chamber at all times, including while speaking.
Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said Thursday they were planning to take the vaccine in the coming days, and encouraged the public to do the same when possible.