President Donald Trump and other senior U.S. officials will be offered the newly approved coronavirus vaccine within days as part of a plan to ensure government continuity amid the pandemic, people close to the effort.
Vaccinations will be offered to critical staff from the three branches of government deemed essential and could begin as early as Monday. The shots will be phased over the next 10 days to ensure that staff will not experience all possible side effects at the same time.
Trump said in a tweet on Sunday, following reports of the plan, that he had ordered senior government officials to be vaccinated “a little later.” He said he was not personally “programmed” to be vaccinated.
The measure also comes as health officials seek to boost public confidence in the treatment. Offering the vaccine to senior government officials has been recommended by public health officials and career national security personnel, people said.
National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot confirmed the plan in a statement Sunday evening.
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“The American people need to be sure that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior United States government officials on the advice of public health professionals and national security leaders,” Ullyot said.
President-elect Joe Bidento followthe advice of Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease specialist, on when to take a coronavirus vaccine and have it administered in public, a transition official said.
In general, the first people in the United States to obtain the Pfizer The Inc./BioNTech SE vaccine approved on Friday will be healthcare workers and vulnerable residents of nursing homes. Various other groups, from airline workers to teachers to meat packers, also want early access.
U.S. health officials warned on Sunday that vaccine skepticism among many Americans could be an obstacle to achieving the country’s “herd immunity” to the coronavirus.
“The way we’re doing is by achieving herd immunity,” US Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn told ABC. “And that means we have to vaccinate a significant number of people in this country, including those who hesitate.”
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