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Biden receives Covid vaccine on live TV in effort to inoculate America

Joe Biden received the first of two doses of the Covid vaccine in his left arm on Monday in an effort to publicise the jab so more Americans will be inclined to receive it when it is available to them.

“I’m ready,” the Democratic president-elect said, as the woman administering the shot plunged the needle into his arm.

After he was bandaged up, Mr Biden answered one press question.

“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. I'm looking forward to the second shot,” the president-elect said.

Mr Biden credited the Trump administration and scientists for rolling out the first batch of coronavirus vaccines to millions of Americans at record speed.

“The administration deserves some credit, getting this off the ground – Operation Warp Speed,” Mr Biden said, referring to the government programme to subsidise research and development of the vaccine and to purchase millions of doses before it was even approved.

Donald Trump, who had Covid in October, has not yet received the vaccine.

The vice president, Mike Pence, received his first shot over the weekend of the two-dose vaccine developed by the drug manufacturing company Pfizer.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell also have received shots of the Pfizer vaccine and urged Americans to do likewise. They received the jab publicly in front of TV cameras so Americans, who polls show are sceptical of the vaccine, could see that public leaders on opposite sides of the political aisle trust the science behind it.

“Vaccines are how we beat this virus,” said Mr McConnell, who as a child survived the polio epidemic.

In a subsequent statement the Republican leader added: “Even with a vaccine, I will continue following CDC guidelines by wearing a mask, practising social distancing, and washing my hands frequently. I would strongly encourage everyone to continue following these important guidelines.”

Enough doses have been sent to Capitol Hill to inoculate all members of Congress, although some declined to receive it until their age bracket is eligible.

Florida congressman Brian Mast, 40, is among those who is waiting to receive the vaccine until his age group is eligible.

“Congress needs to stop treating itself as a special political class, and the mere suggestion that members of Congress are in any way more important than the very people who gave us the privilege of serving in Congress is appalling.” 

The Pfizer vaccine – of which the US only has enough initial doses to inoculate 50 million Americans – has been made available to nursing home patients and health care workers, roughly 24 million people.

The next tranche will be people 75 or older, as well as frontline essential workers such as first responders. That group comprises roughly 49 million people living in the US.

People aged 65 or older plus non-seniors with medical conditions are third in line.

Shipments of the second coronavirus vaccine approved by health regulators were set to arrive in states on Monday, according to the Trump administration's vaccine operations chief. That vaccine, produced by Moderna, arrives one week after frontline health workers received the first shots in the US government's mass vaccination campaign.

Source: Independent

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