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With supplies limited, Rep. Schweikert turns down vaccine: ‘It felt creepy’

(Facebook Photo/Rep. David Schweikert)

PHOENIX – U.S. Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona said he turned down a chance to get vaccinated for COVID-19 because “it felt creepy” to use his position to move to the head of the line while supplies are limited.

The Phoenix Republican told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Friday that House members are being encouraged to get their shots.

But a conversation with the cleaning woman on his floor in Washington informed his decision to wait, he said.

“She needs the vaccine before I do,” Schweikert said. “She was talking about how she was going to have to wait a month.

“It was just one of those moments where it felt creepy to step ahead of someone like that.”

Schweikert said the pending approval of a third vaccine, which is easier to transport and store than the current options, will help distribution “really take off.”

He thinks the complexity of distributing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which must be kept at low temperatures, has made it difficult for local authorities to efficiently get shots into arms.

“You’ve got to have the special refrigerators because of how cold you’re keeping it, moving it,” he said.

“I fear when we do the postmortem on it, we’re going to understand a lot of the state and locals around the country were not prepared for all that special handling.”

On Thursday, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona told KTAR News’ The Gaydos and Chad Show that Arizona officials face a challenging task with getting vaccines out but are doing the best they can.

Carmona, who works with a team at the University of Arizona to study coronavirus trends, noted that manpower and infrastructure issues have plagued the whole country’s coronavirus vaccination execution.

However, he said, Arizona has a unique set of geographic challenges in handling two dense metropolitan areas and a smattering of rural communities.

He said the lack of help from the federal level has been a problem, too.

“It’s not a simple issue,” Carmona said. “It’s extraordinarily complex one that it made it more difficult not having the appropriate leadership at the federal level to help guidance of these programs.”

President Joe Biden is making vaccinations a priority in the first week of his administration, setting a goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.

Since the first vaccines gained federal approval for emergency use last month, about 38 million doses have been distributed in the U.S., according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than half, about 17.5 million, have been administered.

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