Trump changes his mind about White House staff getting the COVID-19 vaccine within days
U.S. President Donald Trump suggested late Sunday that senior White House officials would wait longer for COVID-19 vaccines hours after media outlets reported senior officials were to receive doses within 10 days.
Late Sunday night, Trump said on Twitter he had asked for an “adjustment” to be made to the plans to vaccinate White House officials.
“People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary,” Trump wrote, adding: “I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time.”
Reuters reported earlier Sunday that Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other top U.S. officials would be offered the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine beginning on Monday as part of a plan aimed at ensuring continuity of government, a source familiar with the plan said.
In September, Pence told the Hill newspaper: “The very moment that it’s appropriate for somebody in my category to get a vaccine, you better believe it. I, and my family, wouldn’t hesitate.”
Essential personnel at the White House and certain officials in all three branches of government were set to be vaccinated within the next 10 days, said the source.
National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said before Trump’s tweet that senior officials in the executive branch, Congress and judiciary would receive vaccinations in line with a protocol aimed at ensuring the U.S. government can continue to operate during a pandemic or catastrophic emergency.
It was also not clear whether President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and other members of Biden’s transition team would be offered vaccinations.
Hours after Trumps ‘adjustment’ the United States entered a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus on Monday.
Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, was believed to be the first American to receive the coronavirus vaccine outside a clinical trial, a sign of hope amid a pandemic that has sickened more than 16 million and killed nearly 300,000 nationwide.
“Sandra, you didn’t flinch,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, after the injection was administered, as he watched via live stream from his office.
“It didn’t feel any different than taking any other vaccine,” said Lindsay.
But this vaccine is monumentally different. Developed in record time, it is expected, eventually, to end a pandemic that has crippled much of life in America – and globally – for the past year.
“I believe this is the weapon that will end the war,” Cuomo said.
Vaccinations are rolling across the country starting Monday, with hospitals prioritizing front-line health-care workers. Batches were shipped overnight, following emergency use approval over the weekend.
Doses of the vaccine will reach 145 locations across the country on Monday, with initial shots to go to healthcare workers and elderly residents of long-term care homes.