President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 21st in front of cameras to help build confidence in the vaccine across the country.
Biden joined a list of high-profile politicians and millions of other font line healthcare workers and Seniors across the nation, vaccinated Dressed in a navy blue mock turtleneck and wearing two masks, Biden pushed up his left sleeve for the vaccination at ChristianaCare’s Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware.
“I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared, when it’s available, to take the vaccine. There’s nothing to worry about. I’m looking forward to the second shot,” Biden said shortly after receiving his vaccination.
“We owe these folks an awful lot. The scientists and the people who put this together and frontline workers, the people who were the ones who actually did the clinical work, it’s just amazing,” Biden said. “We owe you big, we really do.”
Biden’s vaccination comes as a second coronavirus vaccine, produced by Moderna, has begun to be distributed across the country, and as the death toll from the virus nears 320,000 Americans.
As the number of Covid-19 cases reported in the United States passed 18 million, the second vaccine given emergency authorization was being administered Monday for the first time outside of clinical trials.
One of the first people to get a public dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine was a doctor in Texas who has gone to work, fighting the virus for 277 consecutive days. “This is like having gold,” Dr. Joseph Varon told CNN as he held a box of doses shortly before he was vaccinated. “I don’t cry, but I came very close … You know how many lives you can save with this?”
The president-elect said the Trump administration “deserves some credit” for getting the vaccine and distribution off the ground with Operation Warp Speed, but stressed that while the vaccines marked progress, the country needs to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of coronavirus, particularly around the upcoming holidays.
“I don’t want to sound like a sour note here, but I hope people listen to all of the experts and the Dr. Faucis on … talking about the need to wear masks during this Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Wear masks, socially distance. And if you don’t have to travel, don’t travel. Don’t travel. It’s really important because we’re still in the thick of this,” Biden said
Biden, 78, had long promised to take the vaccine if advised by Dr. Fauci to do so. In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week, Fauci recommended Biden receive the vaccine as soon as possible.
“Dr. Fauci recommends I get the vaccine sooner than later. I want to just make sure we do it by the numbers, and we do it — but when I do it, you’ll have notice and we’ll do it publicly. Thank you,” Biden told reporters last Tuesday.
Vice President-elect Harris and her husband, incoming second gentleman Doug Emhoff, are also expected to receive the vaccine at a later date.
“Consistent with security and medical protocols, the Vice President will not receive the vaccine at the same time as the president. We expect she and Mr. Emhoff will receive their first dose of the vaccine the following week, and we will have additional details on that next week,” the incoming White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said Friday.
Biden joins several political leaders who have received the vaccine, including Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several members of Congress.
One politician yet to take the vaccine is President Donald Trump, who has largely been out of public sight since the two COVID-19 vaccines have received emergency use authorization from the FDA.
As of Monday morning more than 614,000 Americans have received a vaccine shot, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid Data Tracker.
Most Americans will have to wait months before getting their inoculations.
In the meantime, new infections, hospitalizations and deaths keep soaring, prompting health experts to urge the public to stay home this Christmas week.
“This is really not the time to be traveling,” epidemiologist Dr. Celine Gounder said.
But millions of airline passengers ignored such advice and traveled over the weekend.
Now travelers risk getting infected with a variant of coronavirus that might be even more contagious.