Pence and wife get vaccinated for COVID as Trump's shot remains 'under consideration'
Vice President Mike Pence received his first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in a televised event in Washington, D.C., Friday morning, becoming the first prominent member of the Trump administration to get one.
Pence, wearing a protective mask and a short-sleeve button-down shirt, received the injection in his left arm from a doctor from Walter Reed Medical Center. Pence nodded and gave a thumbs-up. “I didn’t feel a thing,” he said.
Second lady Karen Pence and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams were also vaccinated. The vaccine requires two doses, several months apart, to be effective.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the White House coronavirus task force were in attendance at the small press event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where the vice president’s office is located.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that Pence received was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week, and the first non-trial doses were administered to frontline health care workers Monday. Authorization for a second vaccine, developed by Moderna, is expected within days.
President Trump has yet to be vaccinated. The White House has said that a similar public event for Trump — who recovered from his own bout with COVID-19 two months ago and may still have antibodies — is “under consideration” and may happen at a later date.
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are likely to receive their vaccines in public next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both said Thursday that they will get vaccinated in the next few days.
Health officials believe that televised vaccinations of U.S. leaders will help instill confidence in the public that the vaccines are safe and effective.
“Karen and I were happy to step forward before this week was out to take this safe and effective coronavirus vaccine,” Pence said. “Building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning.”
The arrival of the vaccine came on the same day the United States passed 300,000 COVID-19 deaths. It has also been one of the deadliest weeks the country has experienced since the pandemic began. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 3,500 Americans died from complications from COVID-19 Wednesday, a single-day record. Another 3,270 died Thursday.
Overall, 17.2 million cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the United States, and more than 310,000 Americans have died.