Joe Biden on Monday received the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on camera, as part of an effort by the President-elect’s incoming administration to reassure the country of the safety of the vaccines.
Biden was administered the shot in his left arm by Ric Cuming, chief nurse executive at ChristianaCare’s Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, according to Biden’s transition team.
The President-elect said he would be announcing his plan to “get the entire Covid operation up and running,” including the necessary costs, on Thursday. Biden said he had a meeting with members of his team later Monday afternoon.
Biden said he was “not afraid of taking the oath outside,” and that his team has been getting briefed, when asked if he had any fears about taking the oath of office at the US Capitol, which was stormed and breached by supporters of President Donald Trump last week.
“I think it’s critically important that there be a real, serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatened people’s lives, defaced public property, caused great damage, that they be held accountable,” Biden said.
Biden said he had a discussion earlier on Monday with members of the House of Representatives and Senate, the same day House Democrats formally introduced their resolution to impeach President Donald Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in last week’s riots at the US Capitol.
If there is a Senate trial, Biden spoke about the possibility of the Senate going “half day on dealing with the impeachment, and half day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate, as well as moving on the package.”
“That’s my hope and expectation,” Biden said.
The President-elect said he was “appalled” to see Republican members of Congress refusing to take masks that were handed out to them when they were locked down during the riots.
“I think it’s irresponsible,” Biden said. He urged all Americans to listen to public health experts and wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Biden said he was confident in his coronavirus team that they would be able to administer vaccines to 50 million Americans in his first 100 days.
“I’m confident we can get done what we have to get done,” Biden said. The President-elect said he had spoken to some Republican lawmakers about moving forward with a second coronavirus relief package “sooner than later.”
The President-elect’s vaccination comes the week before he is sworn in as the next president of the United States, and as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the nation. More than 374,500 Americans have died of the virus as of Monday afternoon, and cases are rapidly climbing across the country.
Biden received the first dose of the vaccine last month live on national television. The President-elect expressed his confidence in the vaccine and encouraged Americans to receive one as soon as it becomes available to them.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, like the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, requires two doses administered several weeks apart in order to reach nearly 95% efficacy. Both vaccines have received emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration, and about 9 million people have received a first dose as of Monday afternoon, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are the first in line for the coronavirus vaccines, as recommended by vaccine advisers to the CDC. Next in line are older adults, ages 75 and older, and “frontline essential workers,” including first responders, the advisers recommended.
Biden’s pick for surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, told NBC last month that he believes the general population will likely be able to begin receiving the vaccine in “mid-summer, early fall.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine on camera the week after Biden received his shot in December. Transition spokesperson Jen Psaki said Biden and Harris were staggering the vaccine at the recommendation of medical experts.
Incoming first lady Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband, have also both received the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, respectively.
Biden’s most pressing priority when he takes office will be addressing the pandemic. The President-elect will aim to release nearly every available dose of the coronavirus vaccine when he takes office, CNN reported last week, which is a break with the Trump administration’s strategy of holding back half of US vaccine production to ensure second doses are available.
He has pledged to distribute 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots, which is enough to cover 50 million Americans, in his first 100 days in office. Biden has also said he will pass a coronavirus economic relief package through Congress, a goal that was helped by Democrats winning control of the Senate earlier this month.
Vice President Mike Pence was administered the first dose of the vaccine at an on-camera event the week prior to Biden. President Donald Trump has not yet received the vaccine and won’t be administered one until it is recommended by the White House medical team, a White House official previously told CNN.
The official said at the time that Trump was still receiving the benefits of the monoclonal antibody cocktail he was given after he tested positive for Covid-19 in the fall but that the President was likely to get his shot once it was recommended by his medical team.
In its clinical guidance for the coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States, the CDC said the vaccines should be offered to people previously infected with coronavirus, as Trump was in early October. It noted that vaccination could be delayed somewhat, since reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection.
However, there’s no safety or efficacy data for the vaccines in people who were treated for Covid-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma; Trump’s treatment for Covid-19 included the monoclonal antibody cocktail made by Regeneron. The CDC’s guidance said “vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure until additional information becomes available, to avoid interference of the antibody treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses.”