Pelosi estimates 75% of House members got COVID vaccine as lawmakers call for less social distancing

Nancy Pelosi estimates 75% of House members have been vaccinated

The House Speaker predicts some coronavirus restrictions at the Capitol could be loosened if more members get the shots. Pelosi made the remarks April 29, 2021, at a Capitol news conference.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says about three-fourths of House members been vaccinated against COVID-19 but more will need to get jabbed for a loosening of coronavirus restrictions around the Capitol.

“It’s about 75%,” Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly news conference when pressed about the vaccination rate for members of Congress.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said Congress cannot require members to get vaccinated, and the names of those who have gotten the shots are privately held with the Capitol physician’s office. But she urged her fellow members to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and “to be good colleagues in the workplace.”

“The sooner that that happens, the better for everything,” Pelosi said. 

She said more vaccinations could lead to less social distancing protocols for House votes and allowing members to lower their masks when making speeches in the House chamber.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) briefs reporters on the legislative agenda and responds to questions on a range of issues. Pelosi said about 75% of House members have received coronavirus vaccinations. 

Business on the House floor has been delayed during the coronavirus pandemic to avoid 435 members voting all at once. So daily votes take a long time as members enter the chamber in waves. Masks are also required.

Pelosi said Republicans have been approaching her and requesting that votes be sped up. Pelosi says more shots could help make that happen. 

“Tell your friends to get vaccinated, that would help,” Pelosi said she tells her GOP colleagues. 

Her comments come the day after President Biden’s first joint address to Congress where attendance was cut from about 1,600 to 204 people so that masked lawmakers could be spread far apart in the chamber and in the House balconies. Some lawmakers who were not allowed to go due to space constraints panned the restrictions and questioned why they were needed when members of Congress have long had access to vaccinations.

Pelosi said the stark coronavirus protocols in place Wednesday evening were guided by the Capitol attending physician.

“The Capitol physician insisted that that social distancing [and] that mask-wearing were necessary so that we are not contributing to the spread of COVID, especially with the president of the United States there but also in terms of the Congress of the United States,” Pelosi said.

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Nationally, about 38% of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated, and about 55% have gotten at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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