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Pence receives Covid vaccine in televised appearance, hails 'medical miracle'

"While we cut red tape, we cut no corners," the vice president said, assuring the public it was safe and effective.

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence received the Covid-19 vaccine in a televised appearance Friday morning in an effort to promote its safety and boost public confidence in its effectiveness.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was also given to his wife, Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the the White House by a medical team from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

"I didn't feel a thing. Well done," Pence said in remarks after receiving the shot in his left arm.

Pence called it a "medical miracle," saying that the average vaccine usually takes eight to 12 years to develop, manufacture and distribute. "But we're on track here in the United States to administer millions of doses to the American people in less than one year. It is a miracle indeed," he said.

"Karen and I wanted to step forward and take this vaccine to assure the American people that while we cut red tape, we cut no corners," Pence added. "Thanks to the great work at the National Institutes of Health, and the great and careful work of the FDA and the leadership of our president and Operation Warp Speed, the American people can be confident we have one, and, perhaps within hours, two safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for you and for your family."

Doctors advised the Pences and Adams that they must return in 21 days for the second dose of the vaccine and that they may feel some soreness around the injection site.

The White House said in a statement this week that, by getting the shot, Pence, who leads the coronavirus task force, was hoping to "promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people."

It's unclear if President Donald Trump will receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Trump has said he looks forward to getting the vaccine "at the appropriate time." He and first lady Melania Trump recovered from Covid-19 in October.

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will both receive the vaccine on Monday, according to Jen Psaki, incoming White House press secretary. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, are expected to receive it the following week.

"I don't want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take," Biden told reporters.

Pence is receiving the vaccine just days after the first shipments were delivered to health care facilities across the country and given to front-line workers and nursing home residents. It also comes as the U.S. has set records this week for daily coronavirus cases and deaths.

The disease caused by the coronavirus has killed more than 300,000 people and infected more than 16.3 million in the U.S. alone.

In other developments:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., received the coronavirus vaccine on Friday. She said Thursday that she would do so "with confidence" and at the direction of Congress' attending physician.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was also administered the vaccine on Friday. "Just received the safe, effective COVID vaccine following continuity-of-government protocols," he tweeted. "Vaccines are how we beat this virus. Now back to continue fighting for a rescue package including a lot more money for distribution so more Americans can receive it as fast as possible."
  • The Carter Center said in a statement that former President Jimmy Carter "is looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to him." The three other living former presidents, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have also said they plan to take it, too.
Mike Memoli contributed.