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The White House said the vice president and Second Lady Karen Pence will receive the vaccine "to promote [its] safety and efficacy"

By Jen Juneau
December 17, 2020 09:52 AM
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Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters in Tallahassee, Fla
Vice President Mike Pence
| Credit: Steve Cannon/AP/Shutterstock

Vice President Mike Pence will publicly receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine this Friday in an effort "to promote the safety and efficacy" of the vaccine.

Pence, 61, and Second Lady Karen Pence "will publicly receive a COVID-19 vaccine" to "build confidence among the American people," the White House announced Wednesday.

"Vice President Pence and Second Lady Pence will be joined by Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who will also receive the vaccine," a statement said.

They will be given the vaccine at the White House; more details are expected.

The FDA issued an emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine on Friday, and its distribution across the country began over the 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 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," McEnany said.

"is priority is frontline workers, those in longterm care facilities, and he wants to make sure that the vulnerable get access first," she said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading expert on infectious disease, said this week he recommends 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.”

"For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can," Fauci said Tuesday.

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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
A person in the U.K. receives Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine
| Credit: FRANK AUGSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty

Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill 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."

A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor found that while 71 percent of Americans would definitely or probably get a vaccine if offered — up from 63 percent in a September survey — "about a quarter (27 percent) of the public remains vaccine hesitant, saying they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine even if it were available for free and deemed safe by scientists."

Barack Obama; Bill Clinton; George W. Bush
From left: former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush
| Credit: Theo Wargo/WireImage; Myrna M. Suarez/Getty Images; Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

RELATED VIDEO: Mike Pence and Kamala Harris Respond to Questions About the Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic at 2020 Vice Presidential Debate

On Monday morning, a Queens critical-care nurse became the first New Yorker to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, was vaccinated on-camera. The historic moment was livestreamed on Twitter by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"It didn't feel any different from taking any other vaccine," she said after receiving the shot. "I hope this marks the beginning to the end of a very painful time in our history."

As of Thursday morning, there have been more than 17 million reported COVID-19 cases and at least 307,642 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses in the United States, according to a New York Times tracker.