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Why Utah Sen. Mike Lee got the COVID-19 vaccine

SHARE Why Utah Sen. Mike Lee got the COVID-19 vaccine
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has shared why he got the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks to journalists at the Human Trafficking Policy and Education Summit at the Malouf Foundation in Logan on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Lee recently shared his reason for getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Sen. Mike Lee joined a recent chorus of conservative voices addressing the virtues of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, but stopped short of urging people to roll up their sleeves.

Rather, the Utah Republican explained in a Twitter video Monday why he received the shot and encouraged others to consult with their doctors to make that decision.

“As we make strides to beat the pandemic, let me share with you why I chose to get the COVID vaccine,” he said. “I caught COVID back in October of 2020, and that’s an experience I hope not to repeat. I didn’t want to get COVID again. And so, after the miraculous development of the vaccines and after consulting with my doctor, I decided that it would be the best choice for me to get the vaccine.”

Lee announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus a few days after attending a White House Rose Garden ceremony where then President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Video of the event showed Lee hugging and shaking hands with other people while holding a mask in his hand.

In his brief video, Lee says medical decisions are private and should never be mandated by the government. Getting the vaccine, he said, isn’t always an easy decision.

“We should all be gracious to those around us who may decide to do differently than we do,” he said. “But I encourage you to talk to your doctor and determine the best course of action for yourself and your family.”

Some Republicans in Congress have faced growing pressure from public health advocates to speak out in favor of people being vaccinated and against media outlets and elected officials who question the need for vaccines as the delta variant elevates case counts across the country.

“We don’t control conservative media figures so far as I know — at least I don’t,” Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney told the New York Times earlier this month. “That being said, I think it’s an enormous error for anyone to suggest that we shouldn’t be taking vaccines. Look, the politicization of vaccination is an outrage and frankly moronic.”

Utah’s junior senator has been among the more vocal Republicans urging Americans and Utahns get the shot since vaccines became available.

Romney last week said he and others are ready for a COVID-19 booster shot and expressed frustration during a Senate hearing that a third vaccination against the deadly virus is already available in some countries including Israel but not the United States.

Last September, Romney called for a campaign to counter “anti-vaxxers” who fueled growing sentiment that vaccines are harmful.

In recent days, national and state Republican leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, have called on people to get vaccinated.