The Utah senator and former presidential nominee is among top Republicans, including Donald Trump, encouraging people to get COVID-19 vaccines
Mitt Romney
Sen. Mitt Romney
| Credit: Stefani Reynolds/Getty

Republican lawmakers are pushing back on their colleagues' decision to not get vaccinated for COVID-19, including Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.

"I hope that leaders of our party, from President Trump on down, make it real clear that it's a great idea to get a vaccination," Romney, 74, told reporters Tuesday, according to The Hill. "It's good for one's own health and it's good for the health of our neighbors."

Romney, the former 2012 Republican presidential nominee, spoke out in response to some GOP lawmakers' hesitancy towards encouraging others to get the vaccine even as other major Republicans have spoken of its importance.

A handful of senators said this week they won't get a COVID-19 vaccine, while Donald Trump on Tuesday night said the vaccines were "safe" and said everyone should get one after facing calls to use his platform.

A recent PBS poll showed that 47 percent of Republican men said they were not planning to get vaccinated, which led to a push from health officials for marquee Republican politicians to speak up about getting vaccinated.

"This is not a political issue," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, told Fox News on Sunday. "I just don't get it."

anthony fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci
| Credit: Al Drago/Getty

Fauci, 80, was among those saying Trump, 74, could tell his supporters to get the vaccine.

Trump was quietly vaccinated at the White House in January, though he eschewed a public campaign for others to be vaccinated as well. He was notably not part of a recent public-service campaign featuring every other living former president.

On Tuesday, however, he told Fox News "it is a great vaccine," adding that "it is a safe vaccine and it is something that works."

"I would recommend it," Trump said.

Some Republican senators haven't taken that advice yet.

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Sens. Rand Paul and Ron Johnson both said this week they wouldn't get the vaccine because they already had COVID-19. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that people who have recovered from the virus still need to be vaccinated "because experts do not know how long you are protected from getting sick again."

"I'm still looking at it, I'm listening to my doctor," Sen. Rick Scott said.

"I'm certainly encouraging people to get vaccinated, but I also think it's a choice for individual Americans to make," Sen. Ted Cruz said.

Speaking with PBS last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "These shouldn't be partisan issues, either mask-wearing or getting the vaccination,"

"Getting the vaccination is important," McConnell, 79, said. "I would encourage everyone to do that, without exception. They're proven safe and necessary if we're going to get this pandemic in the rearview mirror."

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