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Vice President Mike Pence will receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine “publicly” at the White House on Friday, and President-elect Joe Biden is set to get the shot next week.
The news comes as thousands of Americans are dying from COVID-19 on a daily basis, and officials are seeking to reassure the public that the new vaccine is safe as polls show many people have reservations about the inoculation.
What are the details?
USA Today reported that according to Pence’s office, he and Second Lady Karen Pence will both receive the vaccine “‘publicly’ to promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and ‘build confidence among the American people.” Surgeon General Jerome Adams will join the Pences and receive his jab the same day.
According to CNN, sources say Biden is expected to receive the vaccine next week, noting that “the delay has not been borne out of hesitation, aides say, but rather logistics of administering the shot in a public setting.”
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have also expressed their willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in a public forum in order to build the public’s trust in the safety of the shot—possibly even on camera.
Health care workers in the U.S. began receiving the first doses of Pfizer’s vaccine this week, after the FDA approved it Friday in a quick turnaround. While it typically takes years to develop and test a vaccine for approval, Pfizer’s was developed in roughly nine months as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed that helped fund vaccine efforts. President Trump hailed the achievement as a “medical miracle.”
But some Americans need convincing, polls show.
“A Gallup poll released Dec. 8 found 63% of Americans would agree to take an FDA-approved vaccine to combat the virus, while 37% would not,” USA Today noted.
Even some health care workers have reservations about lining up for the shot.
KCAL-TV reported that a recent survey of Southern California healthcare workers, two-thirds of them “wished to delay vaccination or not get vaccinated,” according to study author Dr. Anne Rimoin.
The outlet reported that “the UCLA survey found that the majority of workers felt the vaccines were rushed out of Operation Warp Speed.”
Rimoin added, “Healthcare workers are critical. They are not only the first people to get this vaccine, but they will be administering this vaccine and then giving advice to the public about getting the vaccine.”