Former Vice President Mike Pence urged young conservatives Wednesday to get the COVID-19 vaccine amid rising cases across the country as the Delta variant continues to spread.
“Now let me say this about the vaccine: I got the shot. My family got the shot,” Pence said at the National Conservative Student Conference, hosted by Young America’s Foundation. “And I want to encourage anyone here who hasn’t gotten the shot who’s eligible to go get it. And if you’re not sure about it, go ask your doctor and get the very best advice you can.”
Pence discussed the success of Operation Warp Speed, the initiative undertaken by the Trump administration last year that alleviated regulatory restrictions and allowed for the rapid development and testing of the COVID-19 vaccine before receiving emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Under the Trump-Pence Administration, we achieved things Republicans have been talking about since the days of Barry Goldwater. That’s what happens when we stand firm on Conservative principles and don’t back down! pic.twitter.com/lSA9ng6EUg
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) August 5, 2021
The former vice president also argued against lockdown measures and restrictions as a means to curtail the spread of the virus. (RELATED: ‘China Senses Weakness’: Mike Pence Calls On Biden To Press China On COVID-19 Origins, 2022 Olympics).
“As we do our part, each and every one of us, to put this pandemic in the past, we need to also stand firm on the principle that we can defeat this virus without lockdowns and mandates,” Pence said. “We can protect the vulnerable and get our kids back to school. And we can keep America open without forfeiting our freedoms.”
Pence received his first dose of the vaccine back in December alongside his wife and then-Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
Younger Americans have displayed significant skepticism of the vaccine. A University of California San Francisco study published in July found that about 1 in 4 unvaccinated people aged 18 to 25 “probably will not” or “definitely will not” get vaccinated. Meanwhile, vaccination rates in red states such as Alabama (34.6%), Mississippi (34.8%) and Arkansas (37%) have also been lagging behind those of other states in the U.S.
Cases in the U.S. have continued to spike in recent weeks, with the Delta variant accounting for more than 90% of all novel cases as of July 31. The Biden administration has continuously urged Americans to receive the vaccine, arguing that it is the safest and most effective way of bringing the pandemic to a close.