Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez received the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine on Friday, sharing the process live with her 8.2 million followers on Instagram.
“The Covid vaccine became available to members of Congress last night and we are urged to take it as part of a continuity of governance plan so I’m heading on my way there (sic),” Ms Ocasio-Cortez, 31, said, as she opened the conversation allowing the followers to send in their questions related to the vaccination process.
“Just like wearing a mask, I’d never advise you to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself,” she wrote in the post.
The New York lawmaker shared a photo of the medical history questionnaire she was asked to fill out beforehand, then a video showing the injection into her upper arm. It was the first of two rounds of the Pfizer vaccine, each administered 21 days apart.
After showing a video of her receiving the vaccine and sharing information on potential side effects, safety and the efficacy of the vaccine, Ocasio-Cortez responded to a question about why are politicians getting the vaccine shots ahead of the healthcare workers.
“I was actually surprised by this too — I was expecting that we were going to get it a lot later,” she said, adding that healthcare workers have begun receiving the vaccine shots, though “not everybody yet obviously has been vaccinated.”
“But when it comes to Congress’s access, it’s due to something known as ‘continuity of governance’ planning,” she explained. “Basically, there are national security politics on the books to ensure continuity of governance during national emergencies.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine outside of the trial stage of development on 11 December. It also authorized Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine last Friday for emergency use.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) technology, and both have been shown to be highly effective, protecting about 95 per cent of people against coronavirus compared to a placebo.
The most commonly reported side effects were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever.
The United States alone has seen more than 17 million cases of coronavirus and over 310,000 death from the infection according to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.