Biden Says He’ll Take Vaccine, Wants It to Be Free For Americans

President-elect Joe Biden says he’ll take a coronavirus vaccine to demonstrate its safety to Americans and will work to ensure the vaccine and treatment of any side effects are provided free.

Speaking at a news conference in Delaware on Friday, Biden was asked about wariness among Americans, and particularly among African Americans, over taking a vaccine developed quickly and under a cloud of pressure from President Donald Trump’s administration.

“I think that my taking the vaccine and people seeing me take that vaccine is going to give some confidence,” Biden said. “In the meantime I need to make sure that the vaccine is both free and available. And that any follow-up to the vaccine is free and available -- that relates to any health complications from it. So there’s ways we can deal with some of these issues.”

Trump and former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all said previously that they’ll also take the vaccine.

Trump’s administration, including health officials not appointed by the president directly, has stressed the efficacy of the vaccines. Among those vouching for the vaccines is Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Biden blamed vaccine skepticism on Trump, saying the current president has stoked distrust in science.

“Look, it’s going to take some effort to rebuild confidence in science because it’s been so diminished in this administration thus far,” he said. “My hope is we can re-instill some confidence to be able to believe the president of the United States when he or she speaks.”

Earlier Friday, Vice President Mike Pence said during a roundtable event at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the fast-track effort to develop a vaccine hadn’t compromised safety standards.

”Its incumbent on all of us in public life to communicate the thorough process,” he said. “We’ve gone at a record pace, but we’ve cut no corners in this. Look, what we want to do is assure the American people there’s been no compromise to safety or effectiveness in the development of this vaccine.”

Pence has said a vaccine could be approved this month, with deliveries starting as soon as the week of Dec. 14.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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