Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence will be vaccinated publicly on Friday, the vice president’s office confirmed. The vice president will be the most high-profile person yet to publicly receive the vaccine.
President Trump, who had COVID-19 in October, has not yet committed to taking the vaccine on television. Mr. Trump has said he looks forward to taking the vaccine at the appropriate time.
Axios first reported Pence’s upcoming vaccination. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams will also be vaccinated publicly, the vice president’s office said.
The office said Pence and the second lady will publicly receive the vaccine “to promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people.”
As head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and a former governor, Pence has played a significant role in the administration’s response, taking the lead on working with governors to fight the virus.
Both the Trump and the Biden administrations have their work cut out for them to build public confidence in the vaccine, which continues to be lower than public health officials would like. The most recent former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — have all agreed to be vaccinated live on camera.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as next week, transition officials tell CBS News. Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Biden told reporters his aides are making preparations for him to take the vaccine in public.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the line but I want to make sure that we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,” the president-elect said.
More than 300,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and case numbers continue to rise at an alarming rate. Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was authorized for emergency use by the FDA on Friday, and top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci says the vaccine should be widely available to Americans by spring. Officials are focused on vaccinating health care workers, those in long-term care facilities and vulnerable older Americans first.
The Coronavirus Task Force’s Admiral Brett Giroir said on Fox Business Wednesday that the Moderna vaccine will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval on Thursday, and if approved, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will reach 8 million people next week. The FDA says the Moderna vaccine shows “no specific safety concerns.”