United States Vice President Mike Pence on Friday received a COVID-19 vaccine in front of journalists and television cameras as part of the Trump administration's efforts to bring confidence among Americans on its efficacy.
Pence along with the US Second Lady, Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams were administered the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine from Walter Reed medical staff.
“I didn't feel a thing. Well done," Pence said in his remarks, calling it a "truly inspiring day."
Days after the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine received emergency use authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration, health officials started administering the vaccine to people starting with healthcare workers.
On Thursday, an advisory body of the FDA recommended similar authorisation to COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna.
The Trump administration has made arrangements to administer the vaccine to more than 100 million people by February, which is unprecedented in birth speed and scale.
“As the people of this country witnessed this past week, under Operation Warp Speed, the first coronavirus vaccine is literally being administered in states across the country to millions of Americans. And make no mistake about it: It's a medical miracle,” Pence said in his remarks.
‘The average vaccine, I'm told by our experts, usually takes between 8 and 12 years to develop and then manufacture and distribute. But we're on track, here in the United States, to administer millions of doses to the American people in less than one year. It is a miracle indeed,” he said.
Describing it as the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic, Pence noted that there is a long way to go given that there has been an increase in cases rising across the country, including in hospitalisations.
“I want to assure the American people that we're going to continue to make sure that our healthcare providers have all the support and resources they need to meet this moment. But vigilance and the vaccine is our way through. And building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning,” he said.
Pence said that this week, 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been allocated.
Next week, two million more doses will be distributed across America.
“And as you all know, yesterday, the FDA advisory panel recommended approval of the Moderna vaccine. And when it is approved, we expect later today, we'll be in a position to ship 5.9 million doses of vaccines all across the country next week,” he said.
“In fact, under Operation Warp Speed, we are poised to have vaccine for 20 million Americans before the end of December. It is truly a medical miracle and an inspiration to people across this country,” Pence said, asserting that American people deserve to know that they have never been more prepared to combat the coronavirus than they are today.
“Over a period of months as opposed to years, we saw the development in record time of a vaccine that is shown to be safe and effective. We want virtually everyone eligible to get the vaccine,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert and a member of the task force.
Lawmakers would also start receiving COVID-19 vaccine, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
According to government continuity guidelines, Congressional Leadership has been informed by the Office of the Attending Physician that Members of the House and Senate are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, she said.
“The Attending Physician further stated to Members ‘My recommendation to you is absolutely unequivocal: there is no reason why you should defer receiving this vaccine.' With confidence in the vaccine and at the direction of the Attending Physician, I plan to receive the vaccine in the next few days,” Pelosi said.
US President-elect Joe Biden plans to receive the vaccine publicly next week.