President-elect Joe Biden received the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, demonstrating on television that the shot is safe and necessary to protect the country from the virus that’s already killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Biden received the first course of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at ChristianaCare Hospital in Delaware. The vaccine was administered by Tabe Masa, a nurse practitioner and the head of employee health services at the hospital.
“We owe these folks a lot,” Biden said. “The scientists and the people who put this together, the frontline workers, the people that were the ones that did the clinical work.”
The president-elect chose to have his vaccination televised in order to instill confidence among Americans that it is safe and effective.
“I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine,” he said on Monday. “There’s nothing to worry about. I’m looking forward to the second shot. ... This is just the beginning.”
The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses administered within weeks of each other in order to reach 95% efficacy. The transition team has not provided details on when the president-elect would receive the second dose.
Biden’s vaccination comes about a week after the first doses of the vaccine were administered to health care workers, and days after the US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorisation for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Incoming first lady Jill Biden received the vaccine earlier on Monday, according to the transition team. Transition spokesperson Jen Psaki has said that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and incoming second gentleman Doug Emhoff are expected to receive the vaccine next week.
Psaki told reporters that Biden and Harris were staggering the vaccine because medical experts recommended doing so, saying that if they experience any reported side effects, it would not be on the same day.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told ABC last week that he strongly recommends Biden get the vaccine as soon as possible. He also recommended that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence receive the vaccine. Fauci, who is also Biden’s incoming chief medical adviser, could get the vaccine himself on Tuesday, according to Politico.
Pence received the vaccine on television last week, also to instill confidence in its safety and efficacy. Trump has not yet received the vaccine and won’t until the White House medical team recommends so, a White House official told CNN.
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