In December, Members of Congress were given early access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and I asked for South Dakota to decide whether I should take the vaccine early to instill public confidence or wait my turn. Nearly 9,000 South Dakotans participated in the poll.
Engagement from South Dakotans truly helps guide the decisions I make in Congress. My office gets thousands of incoming messages every week, and even more in recent months, but I take every comment into consideration.
The purpose of this poll was not only to seek advice from South Dakotans, but also to increase engagement on the topic of the vaccine in general. It’s no secret that there is some distrust behind vaccines, but the full weight of the federal government and private sector went behind the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure the world can return to normalcy. I have full faith in its ability to eradicate this deadly disease.
That being said, 56% of South Dakotans responding to the poll asked that I wait my turn and I plan to honor that decision. I can understand why it doesn’t seem right to many South Dakotans for me to be vaccinated before a frontline nurse, a senior in a nursing home, or an at-risk veteran.
South Dakota has consistently been among the states that are vaccinating at the highest rate of allocations so far – that’s great news. More than 42,000 South Dakotans have received the vaccine, and this week, the Department of Health is moving forward with providing the vaccine to individuals 80 years and older.
I’m looking forward to getting it myself when it’s my turn. This vaccine will ensure our businesses and schools stay open. When the time comes to get your shot, I hope you’ll be first in line.