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Fauci urges Americans to 'step to the plate' and get vaccinated

Fauci urges Americans to 'step to the plate' and get vaccinated
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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J Fox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie The Hill's 12:30 Report: Nearly half of U.S. adults partially or fully vaccinated MORE, the government's top infectious diseases expert, called on Americans to "step to the plate" and get vaccinated against the coronavirus as Vice President Pence became the highest ranking U.S. official to do so on Friday morning.

Fauci was on hand to watch Pence, second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PencePences announce birth of first grandchild Can a common bond of service unite our nation? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - House boots Greene from committees; Senate plows ahead on budget MORE and Surgeon General Jerome AdamsJerome AdamsOvernight Health Care: US joins 13 countries in raising 'concerns' with data in WHO team's virus report | COVID-19's fourth wave is hitting the US hard | American satisfaction with vaccine rollout surges to 68 percent: poll Former Surgeon General defends Birx after CNN interview Feehery: The top 15 dumb ideas since we took 15 days to stop the spread MORE get the shot. In remarks afterward, Fauci sought to reassure the public of the safety of the vaccine, reiterating that the speed with which it was developed did not compromise scientific integrity.

"The decision as to whether or not it's safe and effective was not in the hands of the company, nor was it in the hands of the administration," Fauci said. "It was in the hands of an independent body... to examine the data independently and say it is ready to look at for approval."

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The Pences and Adams were vaccinated Friday morning on camera in an effort to build public trust in the vaccine from Pfizer. A second vaccine, developed by Moderna, is expected to get emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday and could be shipped out for use within days.

Polling has shown many Americans remain skeptical of the shot, with those doubts fueled by the likes of Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonFox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie Facebook prevents sharing of New York Post Black Lives Matter story Carlson hits back at Fauci: 'Never for a minute doubted' vaccines work MORE, who on Thursday night questioned the rollout of the shot.

Fauci hailed the public vaccination of the vice president as an important symbolic message that should give confidence to the rest of the nation that it is safe to get the shot.

"The time is now to step to the plate and, when your time comes, to get vaccinated. Because when we’re speaking to you today, I often say it is really bittersweet," Fauci said. "The bitterness is the fact of what the vice president mentioned. We still are in the middle of a very difficult situation with record numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths."

"But the sweetness is the light at the end of the tunnel, which I can tell you as we get into January, February, March and April, that light is going to get brighter and brighter and the bitterness is going to be replaced by the sweetness," Fauci continued.

"We all hope that by the time we get to several months into this year we will have enough people protected that we can start thinking seriously about the return to normality. And that’s up to all of us to step forward and get vaccinated," he said.