Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the White House’s coronavirus task force, was vaccinated for COVID-19 Friday morning at a live, televised event intended to build public confidence in the vaccine.
“I didn’t feel a thing,” Pence said.
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Pence, who wore a short-sleeved shirt and a face mask, sat in a chair next to an American flag and under a sign that said “SAFE and EFFECTIVE.”
He received the recently approved vaccine developed by Pfizer that is being distributed throughout the country.
“Karen and I hope this step today will be a source of confidence and of comfort to the American people,” Pence said. “These days of hardship and heartbreak will, in a day not too far in the future, be put in the past.”
Acknowledging that coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are still rising across the country, Pence said the way through the pandemic is “vigilance and a vaccine.” He encouraged the public to “continue to do your part” through hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing while the vaccine is being administered.
The share of Americans who now say they wear masks every time they leave home has grown to 73%, up from 52% in May, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll released Friday. Democrats and independents are still far more likely to wear masks than Republicans
Pence’s vaccine, the first of a two-shot series that will be repeated in 21 days, was administered by staff from the Walter Reed National Medical Center at a room on the White House complex.
He gave a thumbs up to the medical technicians after being told it’s normal if his arm becomes sore but he should seek medical care if anything else happens
Pence’s wife, Karen, was also vaccinated as was Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
Adams made a specific appeal to minority communities that the vaccine is safe to receive, also noting his own increased risk of COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions.
“As the U.S. Surgeon general and a Black man, I’m equally aware of the symbolic significance of my vaccination today,” he said.
Adams said it would be the greatest tragedy if the disparities among communities of color – who have been hit hard by the virus – were to worsen if those who would benefit most can’t or won’t get vaccinated.
“It is not only OK to have questions about a treatment that you’re being offered, it’s normal,” he said. “But what is not normal is to let misinformation or mistrust cause you to make a decision that is bad for your health.”