Dec. 21 (UPI) — President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday during an event that was broadcast live. The Bidens were inoculated in Delaware by staff from Christiana Care.
“We owe these folks an awful lot,” Biden said, praising scientists and frontline workers and clinical staff. “We owe you big.” Biden said.
He said the Trump administration “deserves some credit getting this off the ground with Operation Warp Speed.”
“This is just the beginning, but it’s going to take time,” Biden said, urging people to wear masks, socially distance and not travel for the holidays.
The publicity for the event was intended to build public confidence in two coronavirus vaccines that have now been approved in the United States — the one from Pfizer and BioNTech and a second vaccine from Moderna that was approved over the weekend.
“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 said last week.
Officials have begun to distribute the Moderna vaccine and many hospitals nationwide will begin receiving their first shipments on Monday.
Moderna and Pfizer have both said their vaccines have proven to be about 95% effective in blocking the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff will receive their vaccines next week. Transition officials said health experts recommended that Biden and Harris stagger the timelines of their vaccines.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence both received the Pfizer vaccine on Friday at the White House.
Other government leaders who have also received the vaccine include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
President Donald Trump has not yet received the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that persons who have received a treatment for the coronavirus disease to wait at least 90 days until they are vaccinated.
Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have both said they are also planning to publicly receive the vaccine.