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Ohio's Portman Is First Senator To Join COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Ohio Public Radio

Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senator is the first member of the chamber to announce he’s part of a trial to test a COVID-19 vaccine. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

Rob Portman said he joined the vaccine clinical trial conducted by Janssen/Johnson & Johnson after getting a briefing on the progress of vaccine development.

Portman said he hopes by speaking out, he’ll convince others to join trials or to get the vaccine when it’s released. Half of respondents in a recent survey said they wouldn’t get vaccinated, and Portman blames politics. 

“I think that’s very irresponsible for elected officials and others to question the process because it is happening under the Trump administration," Portman said. "We’ve heard that, we’ve heard that from a number of different sources including from elected officials who have a big audience. In my view, they’re playing politics with people’s health.”

Portman didn’t identify anyone who is, in his words, criticizing the scientists at the FDA and those running the various coronavirus vaccine trials. But he said those experts are taking extraordinary measures to make sure those vaccines are safe.

Portman also he's hoping lawmakers will take up another COVID-19 relief bill in the lame-duck session, and he's working on a bipartisan proposal that he said would include money for vaccine development,  small businesses and unemployment insurance.  

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