Politics

Pence to publicly receive Covid vaccine on Friday, Biden as soon as next week

Geoff Bennett and Dartunorro Clark
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President-elect Joe Biden delivers a televised address to the nation, after the U.S. Electoral College formally confirmed his victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, from Biden's transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., December 14, 2020.
Mike Segar | Reuters

Vice President Mike Pence will publicly receive a Covid-19 vaccine on Friday while President-elect Joe Biden is expected to get a shot as soon as next week.

Pence, who is the head of the White House coronavirus task force, is hoping to "promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people," the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

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His wife, Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams will receive the vaccine at Friday's event, set to take place at the White House.

Biden meanwhile is expected to receive the vaccine as soon as next week, a transition official tells NBC News.

"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 earlier Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware. "When I do it, I'll do it publicly so you can all witness my getting it done."

The decision to receive the vaccine in public marks a critical moment in the fight against Covid-19 as health care officials battle skepticism by some about the safety of the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to be used for emergency use this month as the country is still deep in the pandemic, with case numbers rising around the country.

The virus has killed more than 300,000 people and infected more than 16.3 million in the U.S. alone.

Health care workers across the United States were among the first Americans to get the federally-approved coronavirus vaccine this week.

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have also volunteered to take the vaccine on camera to help build public trust in the coronavirus vaccine. It's unclear when President Donald Trump will receive a vaccine. During Monday's briefing press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president "is absolutely open to taking the vaccine."