US President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of Pfizer’s 95% effective COVID-19 vaccine on live TV a week after the nation began the rollout of the largest immunization campaign in its history. Rollout also began on Sunday for the recently-approved Moderna vaccine, which is 94% effective in preventing coronavirus infections.
Biden joins the major US political figures of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence in getting vaccinated; the latter also received his vaccine on live television. Biden also joins 500,000 Americans who have already been vaccinated. Frontline healthcare workers as well as care home residents and staff are the first in line to be vaccinated, followed by the immunocompromised and individual over the age of 75, then by essential workers, and finally by the general population.
Biden received the jab in his hometown of Delaware, Washington, where he delivered remarks to the American people. “I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine. There’s nothing to worry about.” He also said that the Trump Administration “deserves some credit” for launching the vaccine rollout in the nation.
The vaccine rollout certainly comes at an ideal time, for the US has perhaps been hit harder by the virus than any other nation in the world. The 310,000 domestic deaths comfortably surpass the death count of any other nation, and the same is true of the 17 million recorded coronavirus infections.
Biden’s attempt to boost trust in the vaccine will hopefully calm skepticism toward vaccines in the United States — according to a recent Gallup poll, about 40% of Americans would refuse a COVID vaccine despite the rigorous approval process. The USA has recently been home to vocal opposition not only to COVID vaccines but vaccines in general, with unsubstantiated claims linking vaccines to autism being widespread on social media. And with Biden’s lofty plan of vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office, it is certainly pivotal that the public has faith in the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
Outgoing President Donald Trump is yet to be vaccinated, saying, “I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time.”