The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, July 30, 2021 12:24 pm

Banks vaccinated for COVID-19

'Not my role' to push people to get shot, congressman says

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, has been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, but that doesn't mean he is pushing his constituents to do the same.

"I'm a congressman, not a doctor or a pastor. My constituents don't elect me to tell them what to do or to preach to them," he told The Journal Gazette on Friday. "It was a personal decision."

Banks this week has pushed back against new federal guidance urging even those vaccinated to start wearing masks indoors again. And he has spoken against a mandate in the U.S. House to wear masks.

On Fox and Friends First Friday he said, "If you follow the science, there's no logic," noting there are far fewer COVID-19 deaths now than when restrictions were dropped earlier.

Banks said he wasn't hiding his vaccination status, but that no one has asked. He said "it's not my role" to push people to get vaccinated.

When Indiana U.S. Sen. Mike Braun has been asked whether he got the shot, he has repeatedly refused to answer.

That is markedly different than key Indiana politicians such as Gov. Eric Holcomb and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, who got their vaccines publicly and have encouraged Hoosiers to join them. House Speaker Todd Huston also has been vocally supportive of the vaccine.

Holcomb said in a new executive order posted Thursday that unvaccinated Hoosiers are at the most risk for serious illness, hospitalization and death.

"All Hoosiers 12 and above are strongly encouraged to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination, which will be provided at no cost," the order said.

As of Friday, 50.5% of Indiana's eligible population has been vaccinated. The vast majority of new cases are in unvaccinated people.

nkelly@jg.net


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