Lincoln Gets Flu Shot; Berry Says "No Thanks"

OCTOBER 21, 2004 - Posted at 2:22 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Two Arkansas incumbents were among those taking advantage of Congressional members' special access to the short supply of flu vaccine.

Senator Blanche Lincoln and Representative Vic Snyder received flu shots at the urging of their doctors.  The congressional physician urged all senators and congressmen to take the vaccine, but many, including 1st District Congressman Marion Berry, said they wanted to save the short supply for high-risk groups.

The 57-year-old Snyder is a family doctor and former heart patient.  Lincoln is a healthy 44.

A Lincoln spokesman says the Senator doesn't like getting the shot, but did so at the urging of her husband who is a doctor, because she travels often and comes into contact with so many people.

Democratic Congressman Marion Berry made a strong statement today against getting the shot, saying members of Congress should not be given special treatment.  "As public health officials are scrambling to meet the need for extra doses of the flu vaccine, Members of Congress and their staffs should not be given special treatment," Berry said.  "I call on the Capitol's attending physician to stop recommending vaccinations for all federal legislators and instead donate any leftover doses of the flu vaccination back to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be distributed to people in high-risk groups."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)