Democratic state Rep. Kyle Mullica is the first state lawmaker to receive the coronavirus vaccine in Colorado, thanks to his day job as an emergency room nurse at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital.
After getting his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine this week, Mullica said it has been a long eight months working directly with COVID-19 patients, but he’s excited that the end is in sight.
“I think we're tired of this virus and the harm that it's caused our community and everything that we've had to go through with it. This is a way out, we have a vaccine available,” Mullica said. “The research is out there to show that it's safe. To get through this, we have to get to that herd immunity to make sure our communities are safe.”
Mullica noted that unlike some other shots he’s received in the past, the vaccine didn’t hurt at all.
“I've started thousands of IVs and have given tons of shots every single day I work, but never been the biggest fan of it, but it really wasn't bad at all,” he said.
Mullica isn’t the only state lawmaker with a medical degree. Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo is a pediatrician, but will get the vaccine a bit later because she doesn’t work as closely with COVID-19 patients. She said she’s been lucky in her work because children are doing “fairly well with this.”
Still, she said she’s seen the difficulties and sorrows of the pandemic first hand.
“I've had families in my practice who have had to take off work many, many times because each of their children had become sick and they’ve needed to isolate. I've had one patient who all four of his grandparents died,” Caraveo said.
During the recent special legislative session at the Colorado Capitol, lawmakers had mixed feelings about receiving the vaccine — although they generally agreed that being a lawmaker shouldn’t earn them a faster place in line.
Republican state Rep. Larry Liston said he doesn’t plan to get the coronavirus vaccine because he’s fortunately healthy, although he said he does understand healthy people get COVID-19 and his age puts him in a higher risk category.
“I'm 68 years old, but I don't really look it, and I don't feel it. I'm active,” Liston said.
More COVID-19 vaccine news:
He said he was born with good genes.
“I'm rarely sick. I rarely get a cold now. I was just telling my legislative aide on my mother's side for four generations, all the males lived to be over 100,” he said.
Liston’s Republican colleague, state Rep. Richard Holtorf, said he would likely get the vaccine, “but I wouldn't mandate or demand anybody that didn't want to, to take it."
"That is their right. And I wouldn't infringe upon their rights to say, ‘I don't want the vaccine,’” he said.
Holtorf said his aunt from Yuma who was around 80 years old died of COVID-19 a few weeks ago, and he worries about his own mother’s health. She is 85 years old.
“And so we have to be extra careful with our elderly and those folks that have preexisting conditions. We have to be extra sensitive to that and just try to protect them and get through this,” he said.
State lawmakers aren’t on any type of special priority list to receive the vaccine.