Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen received an injection of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine Friday morning at the White House.
The Pences are the highest-ranking American public officials to get the vaccine, getting their shot live in front of the media to promote the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Surgeon General Jerome Adams also received the vaccine.
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 18, 2020
“Karen and I wanted to step forward and take this vaccine to assure the American people that while we cut red tape, we cut no corners,” Pence said.
Walter Reed Medical staff administered the vaccine shots. Three screens in the background touted the vaccine as “safe and effective,” hailing the effort of Operation Warp Speed to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci also was present for the event.
“I didn’t feel a thing,” Pence said after receiving the shot. “Well done.”
One physician asked them a series of questions before the vaccine was delivered, asking if they had experienced any serious reactions to previous vaccines, were taking blood thinners, were pregnant or breastfeeding, or immunocompromised. When they answered no to the questions, the vaccine was administered.
“Make no mistake about it, it’s a medical miracle,” Pence said after receiving the vaccine, and added, “I also believe that history will record that this week was the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Dr. Fauci stressed that the vaccine approval was not political, but based on science and an independent review panel.
“The decision as to whether or not it’s safe and effective is not in the hands of the company nor was it in the hands of the administration,” Fauci says about coronavirus vaccine, touting approval from “independent body”
Adams spoke directly to communities of color, noting that they understandably were skeptical of vaccines after the infamous government Tuskegee medical experiments on black people.
“To truly promote confidence in these vaccines, we must start by acknowledging this history of mistreatment and exploitation of minorities by the medical communities and the government,” he said.
Adams said that he worked with Dr. Fauci to make sure that people of color were included in the vaccine trials.
Other government officials will be vaccinated in the coming days to stress the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to get vaccinated early next week, and other leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are also expected to get the vaccine in the coming days.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump already contracted and recovered from the coronavirus in October. President Trump has expressed his willingness to get the vaccine but has expressed his desire for frontline medical workers and seniors in long-term care to get the vaccine first.
Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have also expressed their willingness to take the vaccine, some of them willing to do so live on camera.
“If Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID, absolutely, I’m going to take it,” Obama said on December 2. “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.”