Ilhan Omar slams lawmakers including AOC for getting coronavirus vaccines ahead of elderly, frontline workers

Some members of Congress have publicly received the vaccine as a means to shore up public confidence in the effort

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., criticized her fellow lawmakers over the weekend for putting themselves ahead of frontline workers and vulnerable populations who she says should receive the coronavirus vaccine first.

As members of Congress began to receive doses, Omar said on Twitter that it was "shameful" for lawmakers to be prioritized for the vaccine.

"We are not more important [than] frontline workers, teachers, etc. who are making sacrifices [every day]," Omar wrote. "Which is why I won’t take it. People who need it most, should get it."

The congresswoman made similar comments in an interview with CNN last week, where she said prioritizing White House staff was "disturbing."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were among those who received vaccinations on Friday – part of a campaign to encourage Americans to get the shot themselves.

Omar’s fellow Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., received a dose over the weekend and made herself available to answer questions about the experience on social media.


Like Omar, some lawmakers have said they are reluctant to be among the first to be vaccinated so they’re not seen as jumping the line. But others enthusiastically made appointments.

"Millions of Americans are waiting for shots, many of whom are workers on the front lines of this pandemic," tweeted Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, who was among those to receive one. "I am not more important than they are, but national leaders must lead by example."

States are largely responsible for developing plans to make the vaccine available to residents over the coming months. Most have agreed to prioritize vulnerable populations, like nursing home residents and essential frontline workers, until doses become available on a more widespread scale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, recommended that leaders like President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden receive the vaccine as soon as possible for security and safety reasons.

Trump, who has not yet received his vaccine, previously said he thought White House staff should receive doses later in the program.

Trump contracted the virus in October, but it is not clear how long immunity lasts.

Vice President Mike Pence publicly received his vaccine at the White House on Friday, along with his wife, Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

Fauci will receive the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.