GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Aides said Rep. Greg Murphy is likely the first North Carolina Congressman to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The lawmaker and doctor got his shot Friday on Capitol Hill.
“I’m eager to step forward and get this done,” Murphy said before getting the vaccine. “I’m not nervous about taking the vaccine whatsoever.”
Murphy said he wants people in Eastern North Carolina to know about the shots and what it could mean. He wants his vaccination to send a message to people in this part of the state so people can move forward as a nation from the pandemic.
Murphy joined a line of top government leaders who also got their initial Pfizer shot on Friday, including Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. They are getting priority because, as elected leaders, they’re considered essential.
They join frontline medical workers getting the vaccines this week. Murphy said he hopes by normalizing the vaccine publically, people will feel more comfortable getting it.
“Now that it’s being offered to members of Congress I’m going to go ahead and lead with this opportunity because I think leading by example is going to be important,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he respect people’s decisions to not receive the vaccine but as a physician, he advises the continuation of mask wearing and social distancing. Experts suggest the vaccine is expected to be available for widespread distribution to Americans by mid-2021.
Murphy also said he realizes relief is long overdue and hopes to be back in the district Sunday evening, where he will work with state and local governments to come up with a stronger relief plan.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield said in a statement to WNCT that he has plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine soon.
“Congressman Butterfield will take the vaccine in accordance with the CDC’s recommended prioritization that takes into account age and other risk factors. He will not “skip the line” simply because he is a Member of Congress. It’s critical that all communities, especially the most vulnerable and those disproportionately affected by the pandemic are able to access vaccines as soon as possible. Vaccines are crucial tools in defeating this virus. Congress should not delay providing desperately needed funds that will support the infrastructure that’s needed to quickly and safely distribute these vaccines.”