The White House said Wednesday that the vice president and second lady would receive the vaccine to "build confidence among the American people"

By Jen Juneau
December 18, 2020 09:14 AM
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Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, have been inoculated against the coronavirus.

The vice president, 61, and second lady, 63, received their doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in Washington, D.C., Friday, just after 8 a.m. local time.

A livestream shared on Twitter showed Surgeon General Jerome Adams receiving the shot first (giving a thumbs-up to the camera right before), then Mrs. Pence and, finally, the vice president.

The White House announced Wednesday that the Pences would publicly receive the vaccine in an effort "to promote [its] safety and efficacy."

The statement went on to say that the pair would receive the vaccine Friday to "build confidence among the American people," adding that they would be joined by Adams, 46.

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The FDA issued an emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine on Dec. 11, and its distribution across the country began over last weekend.

President Donald Trump "is absolutely open to taking the vaccine," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Tuesday. But she noted, as White House officials have previously, that Trump, 74, previously contracted and recovered from the virus, which lessened the urgency.

"He will receive the vaccine as soon as his medical team determines it’s best," said McEnany, 32. "His priority is frontline workers [and] those in long-term-care facilities, and he wants to make sure that the vulnerable get access first."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading expert on infectious disease, said this week he recommended that Pence, Trump and President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris all receive a vaccine quickly.

"You still want to protect people who are very important to our country right now," he said Tuesday. "For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can."

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
| Credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

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Former Presidents George W. BushBill Clinton and Barack Obama have all also volunteered to take the vaccine publicly to attest to its safety to Americans.

"People like Anthony Fauci, who I know and I've worked with, I trust completely," Obama, 59, said in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison earlier this month. "So, if Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID, absolutely, I'm going to take it."

Meanwhile, a United States Food and Drug Administration panel endorsed the second vaccine from Moderna, which will likely be made available to the American public this week. Moderna's vaccine is 94 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and 100 percent effective at preventing severe cases of the virus, the company said last month.

"I would anticipate that we likely will see shots in the arm by the very early part of next week … literally within a few days," Fauci told Savannah Guthrie on Friday's episode of the Today show of people receiving the Modern vaccine.

As of Friday morning, there have been more than 17.2 million reported COVID-19 cases and at least 310,935 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses in the United States, according to a New York Times tracker.

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