On Monday morning, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) blasted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for their planned guidelines on rolling out the vaccines for the coronavirus, asserting, “Heartless, arrogant, unelected CDC bureaucrats have decided that the lives of elderly Americans just don’t count.”
Gabbard also stated she would not get her vaccine, as other members of Congress have, until seniors across the nation get theirs. She stated:
For months the CDC has been telling us that the elderly are the most vulnerable, but now they are recommending that 100 million so-called “essential workers,” which means healthy people working at everything from liquor stores to telephone companies, that they can get the vaccine before our grandparents can; that members of Congress like me, we can get the vaccine before at-risk seniors can. People like my aunt, who is imprisoned in her own home because of the danger that if she catches the disease, she could die. This is immoral and bad health policy. I had planned to take the vaccine but will now stand in solidarity with our seniors by not doing so until they can. I urge my colleagues in Congress who are under the age of 65 and healthy to join me.
Heartless, arrogant, unelected CDC bureaucrats have decided that the lives of elderly Americans don’t count. They’re recommending 100 million “essential workers” (i.e. healthy people working at liquor stores or phone companies) can get the vaccine before our grandparents. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/yEn0k0cKBs
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) December 21, 2020
A CDC advisory panel voted Sunday overwhelmingly that Americans over the age of 74 and certain groups of frontline essential workers receive COVID-19 vaccines as the second-highest priority group. The Daily Wire reported on Monday:
According to The New York Times, the new recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices would result in about 30 million frontline workers, including teachers, first responders, and grocery store workers, receiving the vaccine around the same time as Americans over the age of 74. These vaccines would be distributed after the highest priority group — nursing home residents, nursing home staff, and health care workers — receive vaccines.
The panel’s recommendations are non-binding, and still have to be approved by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, who has expressed support for prioritizing the vaccine for people over the age of 70. The new group constitutes around 50 million Americans.
The move comes after the advisory panel expressed support for a far different vaccine distribution framework, one that prioritized nearly 87 million essential workers ahead of Americans over age 65, and appealed to “equity” as a factor in doing so.
A November 23 committee’s meeting notes from November 23 stated that vaccinating essential workers first provided “an opportunity to really impact equity.”
Gabbard is no opponent of vaccines. In 2016, she released a statement after the House of Representatives unanimously passed the “Adding Zika Virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act.” She stated:
These dangerous vector mosquitoes have the potential to continue spreading diseases like the Zika Virus and dengue fever very rapidly. In just over 3 months, there have been 346 cases of the Zika Virus in the United States, and over the past 6 months, there have been 263 cases of dengue fever in Hawaiʻi alone. We must expedite the research and development needed to find an effective treatment, or even a potential cure to these mosquito-borne diseases.Today’s vote to accelerate the development of Zika Virus vaccines and treatments is one step toward achieving that objective. At a practical level, we must bring together federal, state, and local governments, private sector partners, and other key stakeholders to get rid of this mosquito and contain the outbreaks we already have, and prevent future spread.