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Rep. Cawthorn criticizes President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed program

While speaking to the Council of Independent Business owners on January 29 during a virtual breakfast— Rep. Cawthorn discussed Congress’ COVID19 response and said that he has no intentions to receive the vaccine. 

“I personally will not be getting a vaccine because of my 98% survival rate. If we start forcing people to get vaccines, we start walking a very dangerous road in the future.” 

Rep. Cawthorn cited data from the World Health Organization (WHO) by explaining for his age group and not being high risk — his survival rate would be 98 percent if he contracted the virus as being one reason he will not be vaccinated. Cawthorn also shared his concern about the way the Trump Administration handled the vaccine rollout. 

Rep. Cawthorn explained that due to his concern about the Trump Administration’s vaccine creation he co-sponsored  H.R.450. The bill’s summary states “To prohibit the use of Federal funds to propose, establish, implement, or enforce any requirement that an individual wear a mask or other face covering, or be vaccinated, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and for other purposes.”

The Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed was hailed as an unprecedented leap toward a historic breakthrough that will save countless lives. It is leveraging the best experts from the federal government and private industry to develop effective vaccines and therapeutics quickly without compromising safety. OWS was able to accelerate the vaccine creation process by utilizing specific federal resources paired with private, targeted funding to focus on vaccine creation. Whereas other medical vaccine trials take an extended period of time while they wait to secure funding — dedicated funding allowed for the increase of production and testing efforts to accelerate the process. — Rep. Cawthron believes that OWS caused the vaccine to be rushed.

“I don’t think [the vaccine] should be required and I think it was rushed,” he said, adding that an economic lens was too narrow a scope to assess the legislation.

Although he is personally against receiving the vaccine, while in the district last week, Cawthorn visited the Tryon Equestrian Center in Polk County, which is hosting one of the district’s Covid-19 vaccination centers. 

“I toured the vaccination center, and spoke with press about the importance of safeguarding at-risk citizens in NC-11,” Rep. Cawthorn posted on his Facebook Page. “Also today, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services launched a new online tool to help North Carolinians know when they will be eligible to get their vaccine.”

Although Cawthorn was photographed wearing a mask while touring the vaccine clinic in Polk County, the following day he shared photos on his Facebook page speaking to Hendersonville Republicans the following morning without a mask and in a large crowd of people indoors. 

Despite his personal decision to not receive the vaccine, Rep. Cawthorn told members of the Council of Independent Business Owners that he believes the only way to keep businesses open while dealing with the pandemic is to achieve “critical mass” of immunity through the COVID19 vaccination programs. According to health officials — the vaccine will help the public reach herd immunity when 70%-90% of the population is vaccinated. 

Cawthorn told the struggling business owners that while the country works to overcome COVID19, he fully supports federal programs and subsidy programs. 

“It’s no secret to all of you that so many businesses were attacked and destroyed, by no fault of your own, because of government-mandated shutdowns,” Cawthorn said. “I think that’s tragic. And so I think it’s absolutely appropriate that the federal government has created stimulus programs to help.”

The freshman representative also voiced his support for federal programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program — which provides loans to small businesses continuing to operate during the pandemic — and said he wants to see programs improved to eliminate the red tape that makes it difficult for small businesses to secure such loans. Cawthorn said while he supports direct stimulus payments to Americans — he doesn’t think everyone should get them, instead, the stimulus payments should be reserved for individuals who are currently unemployed. 

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