Americas

Politician branded Covid deaths a hoax – then 'skipped line' to get a vaccine

A top US politician who branded coronavirus death tolls a hoax has sparked fury over claims she ‘skipped the line’ to get herself a Covid vaccine. Joni Ernst, a Republican senator from Iowa, tweeted photos of herself receiving the jab on Monday, with detractors quickly condemning the 50 year-old for taking the shot despite her age and good health.

Ernst’s tweets read: ‘Today, at the recommendation of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the first dose of the #COVID19 vaccine. I encourage all Iowans and Americans to do the same when their time comes.

‘Thanks to #OperationWarpSpeed and the tireless work of Americans across the country, we are one step closer to defeating this virus.’

She added: ‘It’s also important that we continue to wear a mask, social distance, and follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines to protect our families, friends, and neighbors.’

Politicians have been allowed and encouraged to get the vaccine early to ensure continuity of government, and to help show that the newly-approved shots are safe.

But comments Ernst made over the summer – where she falsely claimed the US death toll had been vastly exaggerated – were quickly dredged up as evidence of her hypocrisy.

Many commenters condemned the senator for taking the much-sought after vaccine despite being in a relatively low-risk category, MailOnline reported.

Ernst told a march in August that she was ‘so skeptical’ of the US death toll, which then stood at 185,000, and speculated that the figure was being inflated by doctors to make money.

She backed a theory falsely shared by President Trump claiming the true death toll was close to 10,000, but later issued an apology for making the false assertion.

Ernst was seen as a rising Republican star, but her closeness to President Trump has since damaged her credibility and popularity ratings amid rising coronavirus deaths, and Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden.

The United States has now recorded 17.84 million Covid cases, and close to 317,000 deaths.

Two vaccines, made by Pfizer and Moderna, have so far been approved for use, although they are not expected to become widely available until well into 2021.

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