Biden committed earlier this month to taking the vaccine publicly when it became available, and his transition team said Monday that he would consult on the timing of the shot with Fauci — who the president-elect has appointed his chief medical adviser.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use Friday, and the first doses from the American pharmaceutical company were shipped to the U.S. and administered Monday.
But federal elected officials are uncertain when exactly they should take the shot and some are reluctant to skip other Americans in line for vaccination amid the pandemic’s most lethal stage. More than 16.5 million people in the U.S. have been infected, and the nation’s death toll surpassed 300,000 on Monday.
President Donald Trump, for his part, tweeted Sunday that he was “not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time.” He also said that top White House staffers should receive the shot “somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary.”
But White House officials told POLITICO they are still deciding who else will take the vaccine and when their shots will be administered. Secret Service agents, the White House medical unit staff and those who run critical operations such as the Situation Room will be vaccinated on a staggered basis in the coming weeks.
And even though the president tested positive for Covid-19 in October, Fauci said Tuesday that Trump should still be vaccinated because his current level of natural resistance to the virus remains unclear.
“If he were asking me, I would recommend that he do that, as well as Vice President Pence,” Fauci said of Trump.
“You still want to protect people who are very important to our country right now, even though the president himself was infected and he has likely antibodies that likely would be protective,” Fauci added. “We’re not sure how long that protection lasts. So to be doubly sure, I would recommend that he get vaccinated, as well as the vice president.”