President-elect Joe Biden is expected to get his first Covid-19 vaccination early next week, CNN has learned, and plans to get his shot in public.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,” Biden told reporters Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
“When I do it, I’ll do it publicly, so you can all witness my getting it done,” the President-elect said.
People familiar with the plans say Biden is likely to get his shot next week. The delay has not been borne out of hesitation, aides say, but rather logistics of administering the shot in a public setting.
Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier this month that he would be “happy to” receive a coronavirus vaccine once Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said it was safe, and that he would get the injection in a public setting to demonstrate his confidence in it. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also said in the interview that she would get the vaccine.
Fauci said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he feels strongly that Biden and Harris should be vaccinated “as soon as we possibly can.”
Three former presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – have all said they would publicly get the coronavirus vaccine as a way to demonstrate its safety and efficacy.
Trump administration officials have discussed how and when President Donald Trump might receive a coronavirus vaccine, but haven’t yet made a final decision on scheduling his shot, a person familiar with the plan previously told CNN.
The first doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine were injected into health care workers, those at the front lines of the pandemic, on Monday. The vaccine was authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use last week, and the first doses have been delivered to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be first in line to get vaccinated. It will likely be months before the vaccine is widely available to the rest of the population.
The FDA is also considering an Emergency Use Authorization for Moderna’s vaccine candidate this week.
Biden has said his administration would aim to distribute 100 million vaccine shots, which is enough to cover 50 million people, in his initial 100 days in office. Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses administered several weeks apart in order to reach 95% efficacy.
The President-elect has also pledged to sign a face mask mandate on his first day in office – he will ask Americans to wear a face mask for his first 100 days – and has said he is also prioritizing efforts to get kids back to school safely.
This story has been updated with additional information about coronavirus vaccines and Biden’s plans to tackle the pandemic.