Vice President Mike Pence received what he called a “medical miracle” COVID-19 vaccination Friday on camera in an effort to boost Americans’ confidence in the safety of the vaccine.
Pence, who President Donald Trump put in charge of coronavirus response in February, is the highest profile official to take the vaccine so far. His wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams also received vaccines during the event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The Associated Press reported that both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plan to take the vaccine in the coming days, with Joe Biden expected to take it next week.
“As the Christmas holiday approaches, this is always a season of hope. We gather here today at the end of a historic week, to affirm to the American people that hope is on the way. [Second Lady] Karen and I were more than happy to step forward before this week was out to take the safe and effective coronavirus vaccine that we have secured and produced for the American people,” Pence said following his vaccination.
Under Operation Warp Speed, the coronavirus vaccination received emergency approval in record time despite experts saying it would require a “miracle” to become available by the end of 2020. According to Pence, vaccine development, manufacturing and distribution typically takes eight to 12 years, but the COVID-19 vaccine has become available in less than one year, making it “a miracle indeed.”
“The American people can be confident: we have one and perhaps within hours two safe vaccines,” Pence said after his Pfizer-BioNTech shot, noting the FDA is expected to approve Moderna’s vaccine, as well. “Building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning.”
With millions of doses to be distributed nationwide, Vice President Pence predicted that “history would record that this week was the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said there is “light at the end of this tunnel,” after receiving his own vaccination alongside the Vice President and Second Lady.
“As the U.S. Surgeon General and a Black man, I am equally aware of the symbolic significance of my vaccination today,” Adams said. “As I’ve discussed with faith leaders as recently as last night, the creation of these vaccines is a gift from above.”
He added, “Working to combat mistrust and misinformation will be critical if we are to ensure the equitable protection of all Americans against COVID-19. Lack of trust, especially in communities of color, is not without good reason. The shameful Tuskegee experiments occurred within many our lifetimes. To truly promote confidence in these vaccines, we must start by acknowledging this history of mistreatment and exploitation of minorities by the medical community and the government.”