Reuters reported on Sunday that US President Donald Trump and other top officials will be offered the newly approved coronavirus vaccine, with hopes of raising confidence on the vaccine among the American public.
Essential personnel at the White House and certain officials in all three branches of the government were set to receive their vaccines within the next 10 days.
However late Sunday night, Trump said on Twitter that he had asked for an adjustment to be made to the plans to vaccinate White House officials.
“People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary,” Trump wrote.
“I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time.”
People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2020
Trump previously contracted the coronavirus and recovered. Many White House officials have also been diagnosed of the disease.
In September, Pence told the Hill newspaper: “The very moment that it’s appropriate for somebody in my category to get a vaccine, you better believe it. I, and my family, wouldn’t hesitate.”
National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said before Trump’s Twitter post that senior officials in the executive branch, Congress and judiciary would also receive vaccinations in line with a protocol aimed at ensuring the US government can continue to operate during a pandemic or catastrophic emergency.
“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.
The first shipments of the coronavirus vaccine left on trucks and planes early on Sunday to kick off a historic effort of the United States to stop the pandemic that has already claimed more 299,000 deaths in the country.
Vaccines are shipped and on their way, FIVE YEARS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. Get well USA. Get well WORLD. We love you all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2020
US hospitals are now preparing for the first shots to into arms on Monday. Doses of the vaccine will reach 145 locations across the country.
However, it will still take months before most Americans can get the coronavirus vaccine. Healthcare workers and elderly residents of long-term care homes will the first to receive inoculations of a two-dose regimen given about three weeks apart.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel recommended the nation’s first ever coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Related article: How will the coronavirus vaccine be distributed around the world?
The US follows the United Kingdom, which was the first country to launch the vaccine campaign earlier this month. The UK is also using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Transporting and storing the coronavirus vaccine have been a great concern among health authorities. The vaccines need to be stored at minus 70 Celsius, requiring enormous quantities of dry ice or specialized ultra-cold freezers.
The US hopes to have about 40 million vaccine doses distributed by the end of December. That would include vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna Inc. Moderna is expected to get a emergency use nod later this week by the Food and Drug Administration.
The US expects to immunize 100 million people with the coronavirus vaccine by the end of March.