Republican Doctors In Congress Launch Campaign Encouraging Vaccines

 Republican Doctors In Congress Launch Campaign Encouraging Vaccines


A group of Republican lawmakers in Congress with medical backgrounds is launching a campaign to tout the safety of coronavirus vaccines and urge Americans to get vaccinated, which comes as vaccine hesitancy remains a persistent issue among Republicans.

Key Facts

The group is led by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and includes a number of staunch conservatives, including Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Greg Murphy (R-N.C.), both members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus.

In a 2-minute ad, the three senators and seven congressmen tout the role of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine development program, in rapidly creating an effective vaccine.

The ad also seeks to ameliorate safety concerns about the vaccine, with Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) stating, “the process was rigorous and transparent,” and Harris asserting the Food and Drug Administration “did not skip any steps.”

“Instead, they cut bureaucratic red tape, not corners, and they got the job done in record time,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a clear appeal to conservative voters’ belief in limited government.

The ad also seeks to appeal to Republicans’ prioritization of values like liberty and freedom, with Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) calling the vaccine the only way to “end the government’s restrictions on our freedoms.”

Key Background

The ad comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spent much of the last congressional recess urging Republican men to get vaccinated, pointing to public opinion data that showed they were among the least likely to be vaccinated and the least likely to be planning to get vaccinated.

Big Number

33%. That’s the share of 2020 Trump voters who said they are not planning to get the vaccine in a CBS News/YouGov poll released Tuesday, compared to just 5% of supporters of President Joe Biden who said the same.

Crucial Quote

“Based upon what I’ve seen from some of the focus groups, folks are more likely to respond to a physician than a politician,” Marshall told Forbes in an interview, rejecting the notion the ad is targeted at Republicans. “We’re trying to address all markets, or whatever group of people is not getting it,” he said, conceding there is a “pro-Trump group that is still hesitant to get the vaccine.”

Chief Critic

At least one Republican senator, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), is casting doubt on the efficacy of universal coronavirus vaccinations. In a radio interview last week, Johnson said he is “getting highly suspicious” of the  “big push to make sure everybody gets the vaccine,” arguing for “limited” distribution to only the most vulnerable.