The vice president-elect got her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at Washington, D.C.'s United Medical Center

By Virginia Chamlee
December 29, 2020 11:57 AM
Advertisement
Credit: Samuel Corum/Getty

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was the latest American lawmaker to be publicly inoculated with the novel coronavirus vaccine, receiving her first dose of the Moderna vaccine on television Tuesday.

Live footage showed Harris wearing a face mask and rolling up her sleeve as her vaccine was administered by clinical nurse manager Patricia Cummings at Washington, D.C.'s United Medical Center, a public hospital that predominately serves an African American population, according to The Washington Post.

"That was easy," Harris said after receiving her shot. "Thank you. I barely felt it."

Harris then thanked the healthcare workers at United Medical Center, noting that they serve a community "that is often overlooked."

"I want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine. It is relatively painless, it happens really quickly, it is safe," Harris said.

Harris added that her husband, Doug Emhoff, would also receive the Moderna vaccine later in the day.

"Literally, this is about saving lives. It's about saving lives. I trust the scientists. And it is the scientists who created and approved this vaccine," Harris said. "So I urge everyone: When it is your turn, get vaccinated. It's about saving your life, the life of your family members, and the life of your community."

When answering questions from reporters, Harris reiterated that hospitals and medical clinics around the country are "staffed by people who understand the community, who often come from the community and who administer all year round, trusted healthcare."

The vice president-elect's inoculation came one week after President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech novel coronavirus vaccine on live television. 

After receiving his shot from Delaware's ChristianaCare Hospital, Biden told reporters that healthcare workers were owed a debt of gratitude.

"The scientists and the people who put this together, the frontline workers, the people who were the ones who actually did the clinical work," Biden said. "Just amazing ... We owe you big. We really do."

The soon-to-be president added that he was publicly receiving his shot to "demonstrate that people should be prepared, when it's available, to take the vaccine."

The president- and vice president-elect join a range of high-profile lawmakers who are being publicly inoculated as a means of projecting confidence in the vaccine's safety and efficacy.

Like Biden and Harris, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence were also vaccinated on live television. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several other members of Congress have publicly shared photos of themselves receiving the vaccine.

Former presidents Bush, Obama, and Clinton have also all volunteered to publicly take the vaccine, to prove its safety.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, each administered several weeks apart, in order to reach 95 percent efficacy. It is unclear when Harris or Biden will receive their second doses.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.