covid jab

US President-elect Biden gets Covid-19 vaccine and says ‘it is nothing to worry about’

America’s leading infectious diseases expert has recommended that President Trump be vaccinated publicly without delay.

US PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on live television as part of a growing effort to convince the American public the inoculations are safe.

Biden took a dose of Pfizer vaccine at a hospital not far from his Delaware home, hours after his wife, Jill Biden, did the same.

The injections came the same day that a second vaccine, produced by Moderna, will start arriving in states. It joins Pfizer’s in the nation’s arsenal against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 317,000 people in the United States.

biden President-elect Joe Biden receives his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Carolyn Kaster Carolyn Kaster

“I’m ready,” Biden said as he was administered the dose at a hospital in Newark, Delaware. The 78-year-old declined the option to count to three before the needle was inserted into his left arm.

I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine. There’s nothing to worry about.

The president-elect praised the healthcare workers and said President Donald Trump’s administration “deserves some credit getting this off the ground”.

Biden urged Americans to wear masks during the upcoming Christmas holiday and not travel unless necessary. 

Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell were vaccinated on Friday.

All have chosen to publicise their injections as part of a campaign to convince a sceptical public that the vaccines are safe and effective, in hopes of finally putting an end to a pandemic that has killed more than 310,000 people in the United States and upended life around the globe.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has not received the first of two vaccination shots, which began being administered last week as part of the largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history.

Trump has spent the last week largely out of sight as he continues to stew about his election loss and floats increasingly outlandish schemes to remain in power.

It is an approach that has bewildered top aides who see his silence as a missed opportunity for the president, who leaves office on 20 January, to claim credit for helping oversee the speedy development of the vaccine and to burnish his legacy.

embedded257083991 Patrick Semansky / AP Patrick Semansky / AP / AP

Trump was hospitalised with Covid-19 in October and given an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment that he credited for his swift recovery.

The leader of the Trump administration’s vaccination program says people who have been infected with the coronavirus — a group that includes Trump — should be vaccinated.

Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser of Operation Warp Speed, told CNN’s State Of The Union yesterday that the vaccine is safe for those who have recovered and offers stronger and potentially longer protection than does the virus itself.

“We know that infection doesn’t induce a very strong immune response and it wanes over time. So I think, as a clear precaution, it is appropriate to be vaccinated because it’s safe,” he said.

I think people should be vaccinated, indeed.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was the first to receive authorisation, “is safe and likely efficacious” in people who have been infected with Covid-19 and “should be offered regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection”.

embedded257180692 Vice President Mike Pence receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shot. Andrew Harnik / AP Andrew Harnik / AP / AP

While there is no recommended minimum wait time between infection and vaccination, because reinfection is uncommon in the three months after a person is infected, the committee said people who tested positive in the preceding 90 days “may delay vaccination until near the end of this period, if desired”.

The advisers also recommended that those who received the kind of treatment Trump did should put off being vaccinated for at least 90 days to avoid potential interference.

“Currently, there are no data on the safety and efficacy of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination in persons who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of Covid-19 treatment,” they wrote, recommending that vaccination “be deferred for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure until additional information becomes available, to avoid interference of the antibody treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses”.

embedded257173397 US Surgeon General Jerome Adams receives his vaccination. Andrew Harnik / AP Andrew Harnik / AP / AP

Trump, who has spread misinformation about vaccine risks in the past, tweeted earlier this month that he was “not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time”.

The White House has said he is still in discussion with his medical team about when he should.

“When the time is right, I’m sure he will remain willing to take it,” White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern said on Friday. “It’s just something we’re working through.”

Surgeon General Jerome Adams echoed that argument on CBS’s Face The Nation when asked if Trump planned to receive the shot on camera to help allay concerns about its safety, especially among Republicans.

“From a scientific point of view, I will remind people that the president has had Covid within the last 90 days. He received the monoclonal antibodies. And that is actually one scenario where we tell people maybe you should hold off on getting the vaccine, talk to your health provider to find out the right time,” Adams said.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, has recommended that Trump be vaccinated publicly without delay.

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