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Minnesota, North Dakota officials say they'll get vaccinated for COVID-19

The senior senators from the two states also said they were confident that Congress would approve a COVID-19 aid package before Christmas.

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U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, pictured at top right, and John Hoeven, at bottom center, spoke with moderator Ryan Kelly as part of a Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce virtual forum on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.

ST. PAUL — Senior U.S. senators from Minnesota and North Dakota along with two members of Congress without hesitation said that they would seek out the vaccine for the coronavirus when their turn came to be inoculated.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and John Hoeven, along with Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Congresswoman-elect Michelle Fischbach, on Thursday, Dec. 17, told members of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce that they planned to seek out the COVID-19 vaccines during a virtual forum.

First rounds of immunizations were distributed around the country this week with health care workers and long-term care residents getting the first doses. The elected officials encouraged residents to take the vaccine when their priority group became eligible.

“Of course, I’m more than ready to take it whenever," Hoeven, a North Dakota Republican, said. “We’re ready to go and we’ll take it whenever it makes the most sense for us to do it.”

Minnesota, North Dakota officials say they'll get vaccinated for COVID-19

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Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, echoed the comments and said that despite prior concerns from both sides of the political aisle, Americans should feel safe taking the vaccine. And she said Vice President Mike Pence's move to publicly receive the vaccine should quash worries of those skeptical of the immunization.

“That will make clear that there isn’t some partisan fight over this and people should get the vaccine," Klobuchar said. And she urged business leaders to encourage people they know to take them and to point out the data tracking their effectiveness.

Armstrong and Fischbach also said a quick, "Yes," when asked about the Pfizer vaccines and moved on to other questions.

All four also expressed optimism that Congress could reach an agreement on a COVID-19 aid package before Christmas that could get additional support payments out to hard-hit businesses and families. And Klobuchar said she expected the package would include another round of direct checks for lower-income workers.

"A lesser amount, but there will probably still be some direct checks in this package at the end of the year," Klobuchar said.

Congress has a Friday deadline to pass a spending plan, or another stopgap proposal, to prevent a government shutdown. Congressional leaders have said they'll likely pass another continuing resolution that would give lawmakers more time to settle on details of federal budget and coronavirus relief plan.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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