Vice President Mike Pence received the coronavirus vaccine Friday morning in a live televised appearance, making him the highest-profile government official to do so publicly. Second Lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams also received a vaccination. A medical team from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center administered the vaccine at 8 a.m. ET in the White House's Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the building that holds Pence's office.
Pence, who is the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has dealt with much of the day-to-day work on the COVID-19 pandemic, even as President Donald Trump continues to focus publicly on the election. It's not clear when Trump, who has already had the virus, will receive the vaccine. He encouraged all Americans to "get those shots" earlier this week. Wednesday night, Pence said he and Karen are taking the vaccine publicly in order to instill confidence in it, as millions of Americans remain skeptical of the thoroughly tested and FDA-approved products. President-elect Joe Biden is also expected to receive the vaccine soon, possibly next week.
"I didn't feel a thing. Well done," Pence said in remarks after receiving the shot in his left arm. "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," he said. "Thanks to the great work at the National Institute of Health, and the great and careful work of the FDA and the leadership of our president and Operation Warp Speed, the American people can be confident we have one, and perhaps within hours, two safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for you and for your family."
Doctors advised Pence, Karen and Adams that they must return in 21 days for the second dose of the vaccine and that they may feel some soreness around the injection site, as with any vaccine. Pfizer's vaccine is currently being distributed to high-risk health care workers and nursing home patients, and Moderna's vaccine is expected to reach patients before the end of the month, too.
Trump will not be administered a vaccine until it's recommended by the White House medical team, a White House official told CNN this week. The president is still receiving the benefits of the monoclonal antibody cocktail he was given during his recovery from COVID-19 in October, the official said, and once he moves into a timing window to receive a vaccination, he is likely to get his shot then.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this week that he'd recommend both Trump and Pence get the vaccine. "You still want to protect people who are, you know, very important to our country right now," Fauci said Tuesday on Good Morning America. "Even though the President himself was infected and he has likely antibodies that likely would be protective, we're not sure how long that protection lasts."