Trump’s White House staff, other top US officials could be among the first to get Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine
Initial doses will be limited and the CDC recommends that healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents get the vaccine first
Senior US government officials will be among the first to get Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in line with a protocol aimed at ensuring that the US government can continue to operate during a pandemic. A senior administration official said this after reports emerged that White House staffers working close to President Donald Trump will be among the first to receive the shot.
“Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to the continuity of government protocols established in executive policy. The American people should have confidence that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior officials of the US government on the advice of public health professionals and national security leadership,” National security spokesperson John Ullyot told CNBC.
Another official explained that this “will further ensure that the US government will continue essential operations, without interruption, for our citizens as we continue to fight this pandemic and work toward a return to prosperity for our nation.”
Vaccinations for government officials could start as soon as Monday, December 14, Bloomberg reported. It was not immediately clear how many officials would be offered the vaccine initially and whether President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence would get it. Some reports suggest they may be offered the shot.
White House staff members have been informed that they are scheduled to receive injections soon, according to a New York Times (NYT) report. “The goal of distributing the vaccine inside the West Wing is to prevent additional government officials from falling ill in the final weeks of the Trump administration. The hope is to eventually distribute the vaccine to everyone who works in the White House, but will begin with some of the most senior people who work around the president,” noted the NYT citing sources.
The article added that while many White House staffers have said they would take the vaccine if offered, others have expressed concerns that it may look inappropriate to get vaccinated to protect the president, who has recovered from it and claimed that he is now "immune".
On December 11, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for Americans 16 years and older. Following the EUA, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it has accepted the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation of the first authorized coronavirus vaccine.
Vaccination for the general public is set to start on December 14. The initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine, however. will be limited and the CDC recommends that the highest-risk groups — healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facility residents — should be first in line to get vaccinated. The final distribution plans for the vaccine are left to the states.
CDC has accepted the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation of the first authorized #COVID19 vaccine for people 16 years and older. Healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents should be vaccinated first. More: https://t.co/cYJxH31I3F pic.twitter.com/rBioalKbbP— CDC (@CDCgov) December 13, 2020
“As Covid-19 cases continue to surge throughout the US, CDC’s recommendation comes at a critical time. Initial Covid-19 vaccination is set to start as early as Monday, and this is the next step in our efforts to protect Americans, reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and help restore some normalcy to our lives and our country,” stated CDC Director Robert Redfield.
The first US batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine left the Pfizer facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on December 13. The vaccines will go out to 636 locations nationwide, sites that were previously identified by US states and territories. UPS and FedEx will deliver 2.9 million doses of the vaccine to about 145 locations in all 50 states by December 14 and to another 491 sites between December 15 and December 16, said Army General Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed.
“Make no mistake, distribution has begun. We expect 145 sites across all the states to receive the vaccine on Monday, another 425 sites on Tuesday, and the final 66 sites on Wednesday, which will complete the initial delivery of the Pfizer orders for the vaccine,” Perna emphasized.