Administration

Biden receives first dose of coronavirus vaccine publicly

President-elect Joe Biden was vaccinated for the novel coronavirus publicly Monday in a bid to shore up Americans’ confidence in the vaccine as doses are distributed across the country.

Tabe Mase, a nurse practitioner at ChristianaCare hospital in Delaware, administered the first dose of the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNtech to Biden.

“I am doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine,” Biden, wearing a black face mask, said after receiving the vaccine. “There’s nothing to worry about.”

He thanked front-line health workers and scientists and gave credit to the Trump administration for Operation Warp Speed, the program aimed at speeding the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, and urged Americans to heed the advice of public health experts by wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding travel during the holidays.

“We’re still in the thick of this,” Biden said.

Biden became the latest U.S. political leader to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Vice President Mike Pence received it publicly at a White House event Friday that aimed to assure Americans of its safety, while other members of Congress have received doses.

Jill Biden also received the vaccine on Monday. She stood beside her husband as he received his shot. Both will need a second and final dose of the vaccine in about three weeks.

President Trump, who recovered from the virus in October, has no immediate plans to get the vaccine but has said that he expects to receive it at some point. Trump has been notably absent from the public eye since the vaccines were first distributed last week and has instead focused his energy on disputing the election results.

Adm. Brett Giroir, the White House’s coronavirus testing czar, on Sunday encouraged Trump to receive the vaccine “for his own health and safety, and also to generate more confidence among the people who follow him so closely.”

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a second vaccine, produced by Moderna, for emergency use, and the first shipments went out Monday.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, along with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, National Institutes of Health Director Frances Collins and other front-line health workers are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine Tuesday morning.

The breakthrough on vaccines has been a bright spot in a grueling battle against the pandemic, which has worsened significantly in recent weeks as cases surge across the country. The United States has recorded nearly 18 million coronavirus infections and more than 318,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit earlier this year.

Updated at 4:03 p.m.

Tags Anthony Fauci Biden transition BioNTech Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Joe Biden Mike Pence Pandemic Pfizer Vaccination Vaccine

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