Pence, other Trump officials to get vaccine publicly
Vice President Pence will receive the vaccine for the novel coronavirus publicly on Friday as part of an effort by officials to build public confidence in the vaccine.
Pence, the leader of the White House coronavirus task force, second lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams will all receive the vaccine for COVID-19 at the White House, Pence’s office announced on Wednesday.
There had been internal discussions within Pence’s office about how and when he should receive the vaccine in order to demonstrate its safety leading up to Wednesday’s announcement.
He said Tuesday during a roundtable discussion on Operation Warp Speed in Indiana that he looked forward to getting the vaccine “in the days ahead.”
“Be confident that we have cut red tape, but we’ve cut no corners when it comes to the development of this vaccine,” Pence said. “I look forward in the days ahead to receiving the vaccine myself and do so without hesitation.”
Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller received the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech publicly earlier this week, after it was distributed to states following the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to grant it emergency use authorization.
CNN reported Wednesday that President-elect Joe Biden plans to get publicly vaccinated next week, according to people familiar with the plans.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure that we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take. We’re working on that plan right now and when I do it, I’ll do it publicly,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Del., earlier in the day.
It is unclear when and how President Trump will receive the vaccine. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Tuesday that Trump would do so when his doctors recommended. Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 in October and may still have antibodies to protect him from being reinfected. Trump has not committed to taking the vaccine publicly.
Trump earlier this week said he was reversing plans to grant some White House officials early access to the vaccine, though some senior and national security staff are still expected to receive some of the early doses.
Other top political figures have signaled their intention to receive the vaccine in order to build public confidence, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Former Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have all said they would publicly get the coronavirus vaccine as a way to demonstrate its safety.
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