US vice president receives Covid-19 vaccine on live TV

Washington, Dec 18 (efe-epa).- The outgoing vice president of the United States on Friday became the highest-ranking US government official to date to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

Mike Pence was inoculated on live television during an event at the White House, while US President Donald Trump – who recovered from a bout with the coronavirus in October – has not yet said when he will be vaccinated.

“I didn’t feel a thing. Well done,” Pence told the audience and doctors after receiving the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the event, where his wife Karen and US Surgeon General Jerome Adams also got the shot.

Pence was vaccinated live on air in an attempt to build public confidence in the efficacy and safety of the vaccine developed by New York-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech.

That vaccine was the first one to be approved by the US, although the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee on Friday recommended that the agency authorize a second COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use: Massachusetts-based biotech Moderna’s mRNA-1273.

“The American people can be confident we have one and perhaps, within hours, two safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for you and for your family,” said Pence, who termed that achievement a “medical miracle.”

President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, also plans to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine next week in a public event, while America’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has pledged to get the shot soon in front of the cameras.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are to be vaccinated in the coming days, while three former US presidents – Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – also are to receive the vaccine on live television.

Trump has been relatively mum about the start of the vaccination campaign in the US and has not clarified when he will receive the injection.

“I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time,” the president wrote last Sunday on Twitter.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said for her part on Tuesday that Trump is open to being vaccinated but believes that vulnerable people should have access before he does.

She recalled that Trump recovered from Covid-19 in October and still has the “continued protective effects of the (experimental) monoclonal antibody cocktail” he received at that time.

Americans’ reluctance to receive a vaccine against Covid-19 appears to be waning.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey released this week found that 71 percent of the population is willing to receive the shot.

A Pew Research Center poll in early December found that the share of the population prepared to be inoculated had risen to 60 percent, up from 51 percent in September. EFE-EPA


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