DENVER (KDVR) — Rep. Ken Buck said Friday that he will not be getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The Colorado Republican shared his decision during an interview with Fox Business’ Neil Cavuto.
“I’m an American. I have the freedom to decide if I’m going to take a vaccine or not. And in this case, I’m not going to take the vaccine,” Buck said.
Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all received the coronavirus vaccine Friday.
“I’m more concerned about the safety of the vaccine than I am the side effects of the disease,” Buck said. “I’m a healthy person and I think most Americans are healthy.”
Medical professionals and public health experts say that in order for the pandemic to end, the vast majority of the population needs to be vaccinated, including healthy individuals.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine will experience side effects which could impact a person’s daily activities, but they “should go away in a few days.”
Buck said the focus should be on vaccinating at-risk populations and health care workers who wish to receive it.
In a series of tweets, Buck then applauded the creation of the vaccine.
“Like the polio vaccine, this vaccine will save lives,” he said.
Buck also said that members of Congress should not be prioritized in receiving the vaccine.
“It’s not right for us to skip the line and receive the vaccine before at-risk populations and healthcare workers,” he said.
Buck represents Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District, which covers most of the eastern Plains and some Front Range communities, including Greeley, Castle Rock and Longmont.
As of Friday, more than 312,000 Americans had died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
A spokesperson for Buck sent the following statement, following questions from FOX31. His office declined to answer additional questions, including if Buck would receive the vaccine at any point:
“To be clear: Congressman Buck believes the vaccine is a remarkable accomplishment. He encourages at risk individuals and our heroic healthcare workers to get the vaccine. In regards to the side effects, Congressman Buck was referring to some of the more asymptomatic cases generally. Again, he really believes that those at risk should receive this vaccine immediately.“
Dr. Eric Lung, who works at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, says his staff has had no problems with the Pfizer vaccine so far.
“The people we’ve been able to vaccinate have tolerated it very well,” he says. “It’s a safe vaccine.”
Lung says even healthy adults should get the vaccine when the opportunity presents itself.
“There have been cases of people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, dying from this disease, and they’re healthy individuals. So why even take that risk?” he says. “The vaccine is going to be very important to not only protect us individually, but to get society back to normal. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some normalcy.”
A spokesperson for Rep. Doug Lamborn said he will “be happy to get the vaccination at the appropriate time.”
Rep. Ed Perlmutter also plans to get the vaccine.
“Congressman Perlmutter has been advised by his doctor to wait on getting the vaccine because he recently contracted the virus. As soon as he is cleared he will get vaccinated,” a spokesperson for Perlmutter’s office said.
Rep. Jason Crow already received the first dose of the vaccine.
“It’s time to lead by example. The vaccine is safe & effective. I urge other leaders to join me & listen to health care workers,” he said.
A spokesperson for Sen. Michael Bennet said the senator will take the vaccine after health care workers have received their doses.