One-quarter of Congressional legislators have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, either refusing to get the shot, claiming a medical exemption, or otherwise not reporting having received an inoculation in their home state, according to Axios. At the same time, a memo from the Office of the Attending Physician obtained by the news outlet says the congressional gym showers, locker room, and swimming pool were reopened for use by lawmakers on Friday evening. The report does not specify which party the members shunning the vaccine belong to but says vaccine hesitancy is higher among white Republicans than any other demographic. Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) in December told Axios that the “survival rate is too high for me to want it.”
Until all members of Congress are vaccinated, social distancing measures require staggered voting, which can triple the amount of time normally required to complete the process.
On Thursday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said there was “a strong desire to get back to a regular floor schedule.”
“It would be a lot simpler if every member had been vaccinated,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) replied.