“I don’t want to get ahead of the line,” he told reporters earlier Wednesday when asked when he would get the shots. “But I want to make sure that we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take.”
He has said multiple times that he’s consulting with Anthony Fauci, soon to be his administration’s chief medical adviser, on when to take the shot. Fauci said this week that he recommends Biden get vaccinated as soon as possible, noting that because the shots are given in two doses three weeks apart, Biden would have to take the first dose soon to be fully protected by Inauguration Day.
CNN first reported Biden’s plans to get vaccinated.
Pence will be the first high-profile member of President Donald Trump’s administration to get the vaccine. Trump had previously pushed for White House personnel not to get the vaccine until “somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary,” delaying previously reported plans for White House staffers to get priority for the vaccine.
Those plans were panned in light of the fact that several White House staffers have flouted Covid guidelines for months. The White House was host to a number of crowded in-person events, and a slew of personnel were infected with the virus over the fall.
A number of influential figures — from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to former President Barack Obama — have said they would be willing to get vaccinated publicly to encourage faith in a safe vaccine. A large percentage of the public remains hesitant to take the vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use Friday, even though health officials have assured that it is safe. About a quarter of the public remains vaccine-hesitant, according to a study released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, though faith in the vaccine has increased since September.
The country’s top infectious disease expert, Fauci, also urged Biden and Trump on Tuesday to get the vaccine “for security reasons.” Both Trump and Biden are well into their 70s, and Trump’s diagnosis with the disease led to an intensive stay at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in October. At 78 years old, Biden is at particular risk of complications due to Covid.
“I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can,” Fauci said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “You want him fully protected as he enters into the presidency in January. So that would be my strong recommendation.”
Biden’s team have taken pains to enforce social distancing and mask guidelines to prevent its spread. Still, a member of Biden’s transition press corps tested positive for the disease Wednesday, potentially exposing officials to the virus.