If you happen to live in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, your congresswoman, Terri Sewell (D) has some great news for you. You might be able to get some free Alabama peanuts just by contacting her office. (Offer only applies to staff members of other congressional offices, sorry.) But one thing you won’t be able to get is a meeting with her or her staff at their local office, at least if you’re unvaccinated. A recent email to constituents warned that an immunity passport will be required in order to come to the office. Constituent services for the unvaccinated will still be available by phone or a video call, but there won’t be any in-person face time with Sewell or her team unless you are in the compliance camp. (NY Post)
Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and members of her staff will not hold in-person meetings with people yet to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations are required for every in-person or in-office meeting with the Congresswoman or with staff,” reads a disclaimer on an email sent out by Sewell’s office that was obtained by The Spectator.
The disclaimer came attached to an email offering the staffs of other congressional offices free Alabama peanuts.
This announcement will potentially impact a lot of Sewell’s voters because Alabama is currently trailing most states in the vaccination race, with less than fifty percent of the population being fully vaccinated. So is this a case of COVID paranoia or just more “leverage” to try to force people to roll up their sleeves? It’s hard to say.
Sewell seems to have been trying to play both sides of the vaccine hesitancy fence over the past year. As the Post notes, she sent out a tweet last year saying that she understands why some people are hesitant to get vaccinated because of “the legacy of distrust created by the federal government.” But she then went on to assure everyone that the vaccines are “safe and effective.”
.@RepTerriSewell In Alabama, our vaccination numbers have plateaued, but we can’t let anything get in the way of our progress.
— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@RepTerriSewell) May 7, 2021
I’m not going to insist that anyone take chances with the virus if they have concerns, but this still seems like some sort of contradiction. If you “understand” why some of your constituents are unsure about the vaccines, why would you treat them differently than your vaccinated residents? And if you’re so confident in the ability of vaccines and masks to keep people safe, don’t you trust your own protection to keep you safe?
Also, if we’re still “following the science,” as the Biden administration likes to say, surely the congresswoman is aware that vaccinated people are still capable of contracting and spreading COVID, particularly when it’s the Omicron variant. If she’s that paranoid about the virus, shouldn’t she be keeping everyone out of the office? For that matter, her staff should all be working from home still, shouldn’t they?
Terri Sewell apparently felt comfortable enough with the current conditions in her state to allow her staff to come back to work in person and to do so herself when she is in town. But she doesn’t want the unwashed masses of the unvaccinated darkening her doorway. That sounds like this policy has a lot less to do with safety considerations than it does with politics if you ask me.