Pence, wife Karen, general surgeon receive COVID-19 vaccines

WASHINGTON (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated Friday for COVID-19 on Friday in a live television event to reassure Americans that the vaccine is safe. He celebrated the shooting as “a medical miracle” that could eventually contain the furious coronavirus pandemic.

Pence, the highest-profile official who has not yet received the vaccine, has taken an increasingly visible role in highlighting the safety of the shot, including the tour of a vaccine production facility this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday they will be vaccinated in the coming days. President-elect Joe Biden expects to receive the shot immediately after next week.

“Americans can be trusted: we have one and maybe two safe vaccines in a few hours,” Pence said after being injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech shot and referring to the FDA’s expected approval for the Moderna vaccine. “Building trust in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning,” he added.

Pence’s wife, Karen, and surgeon General Jerome Adams were also shot during the White House televised event in the Eisenhower executive office building. Adams, who is black, stressed the “importance of representation” in contacting at-risk communities and encouraged Americans to avoid misinformation about vaccines.

Five days after the largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history and after his administration helped administer vaccinations earlier than even some in his administration thought possible, President Donald Trump did not hold public events to trumpet the launch. He was not inoculated. He wrote less on Twitter about photography.

Trump’s relative silence comes as he continues to languish over his November 3 election defeat and embraces increasingly extreme efforts to overthrow the will of the people. He rejected plans by nurses who wanted him to be the public face of the vaccination campaign, avoiding visits to laboratories and production facilities to thank workers or hosting efforts to build public confidence in the shooting, according to people familiar with the conversations.

The vile approach was surprising, especially for a president who is rarely shy about taking credit, said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown Law professor who focuses on public health.

“The president’s relatively low profile on COVID’s response to the election is curious and contrary to Mr. Trump’s own interests,” he said. Gostin, who has criticized the way Trump has treated the pandemic in the past, said he “deserves a big credit” for Operation Warp Speed ​​and placed a bet on two vaccines that use revolutionary mRNA technology.

“With a leading position in vaccine development, he should be very proud to publicly demonstrate his confidence in COVID vaccines,” he said.

Trump appeared at a White House summit before the Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine last week. The event included an introductory video highlighting past comments from those – including the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci – who doubted a photo would be ready this year.

But many Trump aides are puzzled by his low profile now that the vaccine is actually injected. They see it as a missed opportunity for the president, who leaves office on January 20 at noon, to claim credit for helping oversee the rapid development and implementation of the vaccine that is expected to eventually contain the virus that killed more than 310,000. of Americans.

Trump himself has tried to minimize any credit to his successor, Biden, who will chair most of the nationwide injection campaign next year.

“Don’t let Joe Biden get his credit for vaccines,” Trump told reporters. “Don’t let him get credit for vaccines, because vaccines are me and I’ve pushed people harder than they’ve been pushed so far.”

Despite Trump’s claims, it was the FDA scientists who came up with the idea for Operation Warp Speed, the White House’s effort to manufacture millions of doses of vaccines and coronavirus treatments, even though they are still underway. evaluation. And much of the basis for photography has been established over the past decade, including research on messenger RNA or mRNA used in vaccines developed by both Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer has developed its vaccine outside of Operation Warp Speed, but is partnering with the federal government for production and distribution.

Trump’s modest approach could have an impact on public health. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told NBC News this week that 75% to 85% of the country needs to be vaccinated to get “herd immunity,” in a public education campaign on vaccine safety. all the more pressing.

A survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only about half of Americans want to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.. Another quarter of the public is unsure, while the rest of the quarter say they are not interested. Some simply oppose vaccines in general. Others are worried that the injections have been rushed and want to see how it goes.

While Trump stood on the sidelines, some of his favorite commentators, including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, questioned the safety of the vaccine.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern said Trump “will continue to update the country through a variety of means, while providing space for medical professionals and hardworking OWS staff to do their job.” and save lives. ”

As senior officials begin making plans to receive the vaccine in public to help boost public confidence, Trump, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 in october, he takes his time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is not yet enough information to determine whether those who have had COVID-19, such as Trump, should receive the vaccine. However, Fauci advised Trump to take it to the public without delay.

“Even though the president himself has been infected and probably has antibodies that would probably be protective, we are not sure how long that protection will last. So, to be doubly sure, I would recommend vaccinating him as well as the vice president, “Fauci told ABC News.

It was unclear whether First Lady Melania Trump, who came with COVID-19 at the same time as her husband, would be vaccinated.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters this week that Trump, who had previously spread misinformation about other vaccines, was trying to send a message about priorities, delaying his own inoculation.

“The president wants to send a parallel message that is, you know, our long-term care residents and our front-line workers are essential in importance,” she said.

Gostin disagreed. “It will be extremely detrimental to public confidence in the vaccine if President Trump is not visibly enthusiastic, including being shot on national television,” he argued. “It’s just not good enough for Vice President Pence to be empowered.”

Presidents and their family members often made a presentation of their vaccinations to increase public confidence. President Dwight Eisenhower pointed out that one of his grandchildren was among the first waves of American children vaccinated for polio. In 2009, President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, vaccinated both young daughters, who were in a high-risk group, for swine flu.