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President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President Mike Pence, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are joining a number of other prominent political figures that will publicly receive the coronavirus shot to boost public confidence in its safety.
Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton also volunteered to get the vaccine on television as well.
The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week, and healthcare workers at the front lines across the country received the first doses of the vaccine this week.
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A number of prominent political figures are getting the coronavirus shot on television in an effort to boost public confidence in the vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week, and first doses of the shot rolled out across the country overnight Sunday. Healthcare workers at the front lines were among the first to get the vaccine.
Alongside frontline healthcare workers, Congress will also be among the first to get a shipment of the coronavirus vaccine, Politico reported.
“Vaccines for federal agencies and officials across Washington have been arriving at Walter Reed Medical Center in recent days,” according to the Politico report, “and thousands of doses are expected to be designated for the House and Senate, though congressional leadership offices said they have no information to provide.”
Capitol Physician Brian Monahan wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, obtained by Politico, that Capitol Hill will receive “a specific number of COVID 19 vaccine doses to meet longstanding requirements for continuity of government operations.” It was not immediately clear what other members of Congress will also get the vaccine alongside McConnell.
“The small number of COVID 19 vaccines we will be provided reflects a fraction of the first tranche of vaccines as it is distributed throughout the country,” Monahan continued, citing the Politico report.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would be receiving the vaccine in “the next few days.”
“The Attending Physician further stated to Members ‘My recommendation to you is absolutely unequivocal: there is no reason why you should defer receiving this vaccine,'” Pelosi said in a statement. “With confidence in the vaccine and at the direction of the Attending Physician, I plan to receive the vaccine in the next few days.”
McConnell said he would receive the coronavirus vaccine “in the coming days” to demonstrate the safety of the vaccine.
In a statement released Thursday, McConnell said he was “disappointed to see early public sentiment that shows some hesitation towards receiving a vaccine,” citing data from an AP-NORC poll showing that a quarter of American adults are unsure if they will receive the vaccine.
A polio survivor, the Republican senator from Kentucky said he understands “both the fear of a disease and the extraordinary promise of hope that vaccines bring” but hopes that Americans will accept the vaccine.
Pelosi and McConnell are the latest to join a slew of politicians who are receiving the coronavirus vaccine to demonstrate its safety and efficacy.
President-elect Joe Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, that he plans on publicly getting the shot to show Americans that it is safe to take. CNN reported that the president-elect could get the vaccine early next week.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,” Biden said. “When I do it, I’ll do it publicly, so you can all witness my getting it done.”
Vice President Mike Pence is also expected to get the coronavirus vaccine on camera Friday morning to help build “vaccine confidence,” Axios reported Wednesday. Second Lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams will also join the vice president, according to the Axios report.
Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton previously volunteered to receive the vaccine on television as well.
“President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials,” Clinton press secretary Angel Urena told CNN earlier this month. “And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same.”
Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, also told CNN that the former Republican president has been in touch with Fauci and White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx regarding the vaccine.
“A few weeks ago President Bush asked me to let Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx know that, when the time is right, he wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated,” Ford said. “First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations.”
“Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera.”
During an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison, Obama said he “completely” trusts top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, and if Fauci “tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID – absolutely, I’m going to take it.”
“I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it,” Obama said. “I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting COVID.”
He added: “If you are in that category, if you are elderly, if you’ve got a preexisting condition, if you’re a frontline worker, if you’re a medical worker, if you are in a grocery store, if you’re a first responder, you should take that vaccine,” he said.
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