clearn.png
Friday January 15th, 2021 9:17PM

Pence, wife Karen, surgeon general get COVID-19 vaccines

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence became the highest ranking U.S. official to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday in a live-television event aimed at reassuring Americans the shot is safe. He celebrated the milestone as “a medical miracle” that could eventually contain the raging pandemic.

Conspicuously missing from the victory lap: President Donald Trump, who has remained largely out of sight five days into the largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history.

Pence, meanwhile, has taken an increasingly visible role in highlighting the safety and efficacy of the shots, including touring a vaccine production facility this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also received a COVID-19 vaccine Friday, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will get vaccinated in the next few days. President-elect Joe Biden and his wife will be getting the vaccine on Monday, while Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband are set to receive it the week after next.

“I didn’t feel a thing. Well done,” Pence told the technicians from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center who administered his Pfizer-BioNTech shot early Friday morning. Pence didn't flinch during the quick prick, nor did his wife, Karen, or Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who also received shots during the televised White House event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

“Hope is on the way," Pence later said. “The American people can be confident: We have one and perhaps within hours two safe vaccines,” he added, referring to the FDA's expected authorization of a second vaccine by Moderna.

He did not respond to shouted questions about why the president wasn't headlining a similar event.

Adams, who is Black, emphasized the “the importance of representation” in outreach to at-risk communities and encouraged Americans to avoid disinformation around the vaccines.

Five days into the largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history, Trump has been largely absent from the effort to sell the American public on what aides hope will be a key part of his legacy. He has held no public events to trumpet the rollout. He hasn’t been inoculated himself. And he has tweeted fewer than a handful of times about the shot.

Trump's relative silence comes as he continues to stew about his defeat in the Nov. 3 election and embraces increasingly extreme efforts to overturn the people's will. He's pushed aside the plans of aides who wanted him to be the public face of the vaccination campaign, eschewing visits to labs and production facilities to thank workers, or hosting efforts to build public confidence in the shot, according to people familiar with the conversations.

The sheepish approach has been surprising, especially for a president rarely shy to take credit, said Lawrence Gostin, a professor at Georgetown Law who focuses on public health.

“The president’s relatively low profile on the COVID response since the election is curious and counter to Mr. Trump’s own interests,” he said. Gostin, who has criticized Trump's handling of the pandemic in the past, said that he “deserves a great deal of credit" for Operation Warp Speed and placing a bet on two vaccines that use groundbreaking mRNA technology.

“Having exhibited leadership in the vaccines’ development, he should take great pride in publicly demonstrating his trust in COVID vaccines," he said.

Trump did appear at a White House “summit” ahead of the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the Pfizer vaccine last week. That event included an introductory video highlighting the past comments of those — including top government infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci — who had doubted a shot would be ready this year.

Trump “will continue to update the country through a variety of means while giving medical professionals and hardworking staff at (Operation Warp Speed) the space to do their jobs and save lives," said White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern.

But many Trump aides are puzzled by his low profile now that the vaccine is actually being injected. They see it as a missed opportunity for the president, who leaves office at noon on Jan. 20, to claim credit for helping oversee the speedy development and deployment of the vaccine that is expected to finally contain the virus that has killed more than 310,000 Americans.

Trump himself has tried to minimize any credit that might go to his successor, Biden, who will preside over the bulk of the nationwide injection campaign next year.

“Don’t let Joe Biden take credit for the vaccines,” Trump has told reporters. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me, and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before.”

Despite Trump's claims, FDA scientists were the ones who came up with the idea for Operation Warp Speed, the White House-backed effort through which millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines and treatments are being manufactured even as they are still being evaluated.

And much of the groundwork for the shots was laid over the past decade, including through research on messenger RNA, or mRNA, used in the vaccines developed by both Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer developed its vaccine outside Operation Warp Speed but is partnering with the federal government on manufacturing and distribution.

Trump's low-key approach could have an impact on public health. Fauci told NBC News this week that 75% to 85% of the nation needs to be vaccinated to achieve “herd immunity,” making the public education campaign about the vaccine’s safety all the more pressing.

A survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only about half of Americans want to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Another quarter of the public isn't sure, while the remaining quarter say they aren’t interested. Some simply oppose vaccines in general. Others are concerned that the injections have been rushed and want to see how the rollout goes.

Trump, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October, has yet to indicate when or if he will receive the shot.

According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is not yet enough information to determine whether those who have had COVID-19, like Trump, should get the vaccine. Still, Fauci recommended that Trump take it publicly without delay.

“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. So, to be doubly sure, I would recommend that he get vaccinated as well as the vice president,” Fauci told ABC News.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters this week that Trump, who has previously spread misinformation about other vaccines "wants to send a parallel message which is, you know, our long-term care facility residents and our front-line workers are paramount in importance," she said.

Gostin disagreed. ”It will be enormously damaging to public trust in the vaccine if President Trump isn’t visibly enthusiastic, including getting his shot on national television,” he argued. “It simply isn’t good enough to have Vice President Pence as a proxy."

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Health, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Pence, wife Karen, surgeon general get COVID-19 vaccines
Vice President Mike Pence has received the coronavirus vaccine during a White House event aimed at convincing skeptical Americans that the vaccines are safe
8:34AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Suter wins 1st downhill of season, Schmidhofer hurt in crash
Corinne Suter won the season-opening women’s World Cup downhill race and Nicole Schmidhofer was injured in a high-speed crash that sent her through the safety fencing
8:33AM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Azar: Moderna vaccines ship if FDA gives OK
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says shipments of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine will begin this weekend if the FDA grants emergency use authorization as expected on Friday
8:27AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Virus-stricken Macron at presidential retreat with fever
French President Emmanuel Macron is riding out the coronavirus in a presidential retreat at Versailles
7:31AM ( 1 hour ago )
Iran builds at underground nuclear facility amid US tensions
Iran has begun construction at its underground nuclear facility at Fordo amid tensions with the U.S. over its atomic program
6:39AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump stays on sidelines as virus vaccine injections begin
President Donald Trump’s administration helped bring about vaccinations against the coronavirus earlier than even some of his own officials had hoped for
5:48AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Raiders lose QB Carr, fall in overtime to Chargers, Herbert
Justin Herbert scored on 1-yard plunge to give the Los Angeles Chargers a 30-27 overtime victory over the Las Vegas Raiders
1:26AM ( 7 hours ago )
Trump stays on sidelines as vaccine injections begin
President Donald Trump’s administration helped bring about vaccinations against the coronavirus earlier than even some of his own officials had hoped for
12:35AM ( 8 hours ago )
COVID-19 models plot dire scenarios for California hospitals
Gov. Gavin Newsom's dire view of California’s out-of-control surge of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths is based partly on projection models that he says are becoming alarmingly more accurate
12:06AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online National News
In historic pick, Biden taps Haaland as interior secretary
President-elect Joe Biden has picked New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary
8:37PM ( 12 hours ago )
8 nuns die of COVID-19 in last week at Wisconsin convent
Eight nuns living at a retirement home for sisters in suburban Milwaukee have died of COVID-19 in the last week, according to the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province
8:36PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP sources: Biden to pick Rep. Haaland as interior secretary
President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary
7:32PM ( 13 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Transition stumbles test Biden's bond with Capitol Hill
President-elect Joe Biden brings more Capitol Hill experience than any president in decades
12:10AM ( 8 hours ago )
Pelosi, McConnell to get vaccine, urge members to do same
The top leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will be receiving the coronavirus vaccine in the next few days, and Congress’ attending physician has informed members that they are all eligible for the shots under “government continuity” guidelines
10:46PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Coronavirus vaccine provided to US Supreme Court
The justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are being provided with doses of the coronavirus vaccine
9:00PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Half of Belgium's COVID-19 deaths in rest homes
More than 10,000 elderly people living in Belgian rest homes have died from COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic
6:03AM ( 2 hours ago )
California: More than 1,000 virus deaths in last 5 days
California health authorities have reported a one-day record of 379 coronavirus deaths and more than 52,000 new confirmed cases
10:24PM ( 10 hours ago )
2nd COVID-19 vaccine set for OK in US with panel endorsement
A  U.S. government advisory panel has endorsed a second COVID-19 vaccine
6:19PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Health
NBC's Holt adds empathetic commentaries to news anchor role
During a tough news year with a pandemic, racial unrest and blood-sport politics, NBC's Lester Holt has concluded that telling stories isn't enough
8:36AM ( 23 minutes ago )
German economic outlook rises, remains subdued
German businesses are modestly more optimistic despite the pandemic
5:39AM ( 3 hours ago )
Global stocks lower after Wall St. record on stimulus hopes
Global stocks and U.S. futures are mostly lower after Wall Street hit a new high on optimism over economic stimulus and coronavirus vaccine development despite a spike in U.S. unemployment claims
3:47AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Louisiana hospitalizations highest since summer
The number of people in Louisiana hospitalized with COVID-19 has reached heights exceeding the state’s summer surge of the disease that can be caused by the coronavirus
6:17PM ( 14 hours ago )
Coca-Cola laying off 2,200 workers as it pares brands
The Coca-Cola Co. says it’s laying off 2,200 workers, or 17% of its global workforce, as part of a larger restructuring aimed at paring down its brands
5:28PM ( 15 hours ago )
The Latest: NBA star Antetokounmpo appears in safety ad
NBA basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo has appeared in a commercial in his native Greece, released ahead of Christmas to urge people to observe public safety measures during the pandemic
5:03PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
US cybersecurity agency warns of 'grave' threat from hack
U.S. authorities are expressing increased alarm about an intrusion into computer systems around the globe that officials suspect was carried out by Russia
4:06PM ( 16 hours ago )
Turkey, Iraq agree to cooperate against extremist groups
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey and Iraq have agreed to continue their cooperation in fighting extremist organizations, including the Islamic State group and Kurdish rebels
12:01PM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: Independent experts discuss Moderna vaccine
A second COVID-19 vaccine is moving closer to joining the U.S. fight against the pandemic
10:32AM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
The Latest: California sees record cases, deaths
California has reported more than 53,000 new coronavirus cases and 293 deaths, setting new records as hospitals struggled to keep up with the surge
1:06AM ( 1 day ago )
US angling to secure more of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine
U.S. officials say they’re actively negotiating for additional purchases of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine after passing up a chance to lock in a contract this summer because it was still unclear how well the shots would work
9:49PM ( 1 day ago )
Vaccinations reach nursing homes as California faces crisis
The first COVID-19 vaccinations are underway at U.S. nursing homes, where the virus has killed upwards of 110,000 people, even as the nation struggles to contain a surge so alarming that California is dispensing thousands of body bags and lining up refrigerated morgue trailers
9:49PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Suter wins 1st downhill of season, Schmidhofer hurt in crash
Corinne Suter won the season-opening women’s World Cup downhill race and Nicole Schmidhofer was injured in a high-speed crash that sent her through the safety fencing
8:33AM ( 26 minutes ago )
The Latest: Azar: Moderna vaccines ship if FDA gives OK
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says shipments of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine will begin this weekend if the FDA grants emergency use authorization as expected on Friday
8:27AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Kremlin happy Russians will be able to compete at Olympics
The Kremlin has voiced regret about the ruling that banned Russia from using its name, flag and anthem at the next two Olympics but emphasized that the verdict would allow the country's athletes to compete
8:17AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Pence, wife Karen, get COVID-19 vaccine injections
Vice President Mike Pence has received the coronavirus vaccine during a White House event aimed at convincing skeptical Americans that the vaccines are safe
8:14AM ( 46 minutes ago )
The Latest: Biden marks anniversary of deaths of wife, child
President-elect Joe Biden has marked the 48th anniversary of the accident that killed his first wife and baby daughter by attending Mass at the church where they're buried
8:06AM ( 54 minutes ago )