Joe Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on live television Monday afternoon and reassured Americans of the vaccine's safety.
"We owe these folks an awful lot," Biden said, thanking those involved in the vaccine's development and distribution and front-line health care workers.
Biden said the Trump administration deserved "some credit" for Operation Warp Speed, the federal government's vaccine program, and their role in making coronavirus vaccinations possible.
"I'm doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared, when it's available, to take the vaccine. There's nothing to worry about. I'm looking forward to the second shot, "Biden said. Biden noted that the vaccine rollout was in beginning stages and cautioned Americans about the long road ahead. "It's going to take time," he said.
Biden urged Americans in the meantime to listen to public health experts and wear masks and socially distance and to not travel unless absolutely necessary during the holiday season.
"It's really important because we're still in the thick of this," he said.
Jill Biden received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine just prior to Joe Biden on Monday at the same hospital. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses administered several weeks apart in order to reach 95% efficacy. The transition team has not provided details about when the Bidens will receive the second dose.
US Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence were administered the vaccine at an on-camera event last week.
Joe Biden rolled up his sleeve to be inoculated against the coronavirus and assure Americans the shot was safe in a nationally televised moment Monday that raised an obvious question: Why isn’t President Trump grabbing this spotlight?
Trump has not received the vaccine yet and won't be administered one until it is recommended by the White House medical team, a White House official told CNN last week.
The President is still receiving the benefits of the monoclonal antibody cocktail he was given after he tested positive for Covid-19 this fall, the official said, but he is likely to get his shot once it is recommended by the medical team.
"It's important for two reasons. One is that I'm an attending physician here at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, and so I do see patients," Fauci said as he was about to be vaccinated."But as important, or more important is as a symbol to the rest of the country that I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine and I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we could have a valid protection over this country that would end this pandemic."
The coronavirus pandemic had killed more than 318,000 Americans as of Monday afternoon. Nationally, the U.S. has eclipsed 18 million coronavirus cases.