McConnell urges fellow Republicans to get COVID-19 vaccines

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his fellow Republicans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during a visit to a hospital in western Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his fellow Republicans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during a visit to a western Kentucky hospital Thursday.

“As a Republican man, I wasn’t reluctant to get it when I was eligible and I would encourage everybody to do that,” he said. “The sooner we can get to 75%, to herd immunity, and get our economy up and open, the better.”

Flanked by Owensboro Health Regional Hospital administrators, the senator also discussed COVID-19 relief and the state’s vaccine distribution.

A March poll from The Associated Press -NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 42% of Republicans say they probably or definitely will not get the shot, compared with 17% of Democrats.

Still, in stops across Kentucky this week, Sen. McConnell has been encouraging the Republican-leaning state’s residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Kentucky will open up vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older starting Monday. Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, has said that while demand in some parts of the state remains high, appointment slots in others continue to go unfilled.

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Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.