Editorial: Budd has a spot, should take the shot

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 28, 2021

Rep. Ted Budd appears to be a prime target for the state’s “You have a spot. Take your shot” campaign.

Budd told Post reporter Natalie Anderson last week he’s waiting for those who are high risk to get vaccinated first before he gets his COVID-19 shot. He’s got antibodies from testing positive in November, is generally in good health and, as such, doesn’t see the need to be vaccinated right away.

The casual vaccine hesitancy by people like Budd gives way to more troubling opinions. People should receive the first shot offered to them when it’s their turn. They also shouldn’t sign up for an appointment, get in line and turn away after learning it’s a particular brand. Vaccines in use now have been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration and given an emergency authorization after passing through clinical trials like other drugs and vaccines.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is not approved in the U.S. Those approved include Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which only requires one dose.

Just two months ago, Budd gave a speech on the House floor, saying “life-saving COVID-19 vaccines are going to waste” and introduced a measure he hoped would fix that, but he is letting his own chance to be vaccinated waste away. As an elected official, Budd has been eligible to receive his vaccine since March 3. The elderly have been able to get vaccines for months. For many seniors not yet vaccinated, the problem is not a lack of vaccine; it’s that options currently available are hard to access or that appointments are difficult to book.

In cases where vaccine doses are still being wasted, it’s because people aren’t signing up to receive them, not showing up or canceling their appointments; it’s not because of widespread mismanagement. Here, Rowan Health Department workers are carrying over small numbers of doses to other weeks or calling to find willing people on wait lists because of no-shows or canceled appointments. To help with that, people should sign up for an appointment and keep it.

Because it’s not clear how long immunity lasts after contracting the virus, health officials recommend people who previously tested positive receive the vaccine. Variants that have emerged since the initial virus are also a concern; vaccines along with other precautions are our best shot to stop them.

People who received certain treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, should wait 90 days before getting a vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Talk to your doctor about questions related to whether a wait is required.

This is a different conversation entirely if Budd was a private citizen. People should be vaccinated to prevent themselves from inadvertently spreading the virus to others who are at higher risk and to ensure the country can get as close to pre-pandemic life as possible, but the government is not mandating vaccinations for COVID-19.

As the congressman for all or part of 10 counties in the North Carolina, Budd’s job is more than introducing or passing laws. By getting vaccinated and telling the public, Budd can send a clear signal to his constituents he’s embracing the kind of public safety that requires individual responsibility — not just the kind that uses taxpayer dollars. He won’t change the mind of all of his supporters — many of whom have believed the virus was fake from the start — but he can make progress to that end.