Trump to Delay Early Covid-19 Vaccinations of White House Staff
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence departs from an Operation Warp Speed vaccine summit at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg)

Trump to Delay Early Covid-19 Vaccinations of White House Staff

President Donald Trump said he will delay Covid-19 vaccinations for himself and White House staff after reports they would be offered early access to it as part of a plan to ensure continuity in government amid the pandemic.

Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he had directed that top government officials would be vaccinated “somewhat later.” He said he personally is not “scheduled” to be vaccinated.

The vaccinations will be offered to critical personnel in all three branches of government deemed essential, and could start as soon as Monday, people familiar with the effort said. The shots will be staggered over the following 10 days to ensure staff don’t experience possible side effects all at the same time.

The measure also comes as health officials seek to build public confidence in the treatment. Offering the vaccine to top government members was recommended by public health officials and career national security staff, according to the people.

National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot had earlier confirmed the plan to vaccinate certain top officials.

“The American people should have confidence that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior officials of the United States government on the advice of public health professionals and national security leadership,” Ullyot said.

President-elect Joe Biden will follow the guidance of Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, about when to take a coronavirus vaccine and will have it administered in public, a transition official said.

Trump to Delay Early Covid-19 Vaccinations of White House Staff

In general, the first people in the U.S. to get the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech SE vaccine approved on Friday will be health-care workers and vulnerable residents of care homes. Various other groups, from airline workers to teachers to meatpackers, are keen for early access too.

U.S. health officials on Sunday warned that skepticism about the vaccines among many Americans may be a barrier to the nation achieving “herd immunity” against the coronavirus.

“The way we get through this is to achieve herd immunity,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn said on ABC. “And that means we need to vaccinate a significant number of people in this country, including those who are hesitant.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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