US Vice President Mike Pence received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on live TV days after the nation began the rollout of the largest immunization campaign in its history.
A press statement released by the White House says the live vaccination intends to “promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people.” This echoes the sentiment of former Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton, who all promised to be vaccinated on live television in a bid to promote the trustworthiness of the vaccine.
This bipartisan initiative 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.
The Pfizer vaccine has been shown in clinical trials to be 95% effective in preventing infection from the novel coronavirus. Millions of doses have already been distributed to hospitals throughout the United States, with many millions more set to arrive in the coming weeks. Nursing home residents and healthcare professionals are set to be the first receivers of the jab, followed by the elderly and essential workers. It will be months before the general population is widely immunized — a popular tentative date for this possibility is early summer 2021.
The Moderna vaccine, which boasts the same impressive electiveness as the Pfizer vaccine, is set to be approved soon for use in the US. Trump said on Twitter that the Moderna vaccine has already been “overwhelmingly approved” with “distribution to start immediately.” However, while regulators have recommended the vaccine for approval, official approval from the US Food and Drug Administration is pending.
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.
“We gather here today at the end of a historic week to affirm to the American people that hope is on the way,” Pence told the cameras. “Karen and I were more than happy to step forward before this week was out to take this safe and effective coronavirus vaccine that we have secured and produced for the American people.” After receiving the jab, the Vice President assured viewers, “I didn’t feel a thing.”