Capitol Hill to receive first batch of coronavirus vaccines

Congress will receive a limited batch of the coronavirus vaccine in the coming days, according to multiple sources, marking a major development for lawmakers and frontline workers in a Capitol complex that has battled dozens of outbreaks this year.

Vaccines for federal agencies and officials across Washington have been arriving at Walter Reed Medical Center in recent days, and thousands of doses are expected to be designated for the House and Senate, though congressional leadership offices said they have no information to provide.

And in another sign that vaccinations are imminent on the Hill, the Capitol Physician has begun privately informing some members and staff that he has requested vaccines and that his office is making some preparations, including setting up freezer storage.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) obtained by POLITICO, Capitol Physician Brian Monahan wrote that Congress will receive “a specific number of COVID 19 vaccine doses to meet longstanding requirements for continuity of government operations.”

“The small number of COVID 19 vaccines we will be provided reflects a fraction of the first tranche of vaccines as it is distributed throughout the country,” Monahan added.

McConnell, a childhood polio survivor, said in a statement Thursday he planned to take the vaccine “in the coming days,” but offered no other details.

“Because of government continuity requirements, I have been informed by the Office of the Attending Physician that I am eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, which I will accept,” he said.

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