Schumer Floor Remarks On The Distribution Of The First Coronavirus Vaccine; Schumer Says He "Will Not Skip The Line" To Take COVID Vaccine

December 14, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the distribution and recent approval of the first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and how he will not skip the line to take the vaccine before those who need it most.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now, a year that was full of bad news for the country is coming to an end with some very good news. Over the past 8 to 9 months, American scientists, biochemists, and researchers rushed to produce a safe and effective vaccine to the COVID-19 pandemic—and they have succeeded in extraordinary fashion.

We don’t have just one, but several candidates for a vaccine, each of which has shown to be over 90% effective in clinical trials.

One of those vaccines has been authorized by the FDA for emergency use. And as we speak, an assembly line of workers in masks, gloves, and face shields are pulling doses out of the freezer, loading them into cold storage pallets and onto trucks to be shipped to states across the country.

The discovery of a COVID-19 vaccine within the timeframe of a calendar year is a crowning scientific achievement of the 21st Century. It should bring not only a feeling of relief to the country—indeed the entire world—but also a deep admiration for, and pride in, America’s scientists and medical researchers.

I remember, in the early days of the pandemic, going to the window of our Brooklyn apartment each night to applaud our frontline workers. The whoops, claps, and the metallic clang of pots and pans echoed for miles. Our medical researchers – as well as the thousands of Americans who selflessly volunteered for clinical trials – deserve the same, national expression of gratitude.

We can show our gratitude, here in Congress, by communicating clearly that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and that every American should inoculate themselves when it becomes available. Skepticism about vaccines was already too high before the pandemic. Several polls have shown it to be an alarming concern with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine. So it is an absolute disgrace that the Republican majority on the Homeland Security Committee has invited a prominent skeptic of the COVID-19 vaccine to deliver testimony in a hearing this week.

Public figures at all levels should be building up confidence in a vaccine, not giving a platform to those who undermine it.

At the moment, the vaccine is being distributed to medical personnel, doctors, nurses, frontline workers, and the most vulnerable populations.

I, myself, will take the vaccine as soon as it is appropriate and recommended. I will not skip the line. But make no mistake: we should all lead by example, commit to taking the vaccine, and tell our constituents to take it as well.

The CDC and our states will continue to advise which populations should be inoculated based on availability and we will follow that guidance.