WASHINGTON (CN) — Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received her first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, 22 days out from Inauguration Day.
Moments after a United Medical Center worker gave Harris the shot in Washington, Harris addressed the crew of cameras filming her inoculation.
“I want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine,” she said. “It is relatively painless. It happens really quickly. It is safe. Literally, this is about saving lives.”
According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource tracker, the U.S. has seen more than 19,334,975 cases of Covid-19 and 335,623 deaths because of the virus as of Tuesday. The World Health Organization predicted Monday that the virus will likely remain with humans for years to come, just like influenza.
Harris received the Moderna shot roughly a week after her campaign partner President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden received the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine in Newark, Delaware.
Prior to Biden’s inoculation, the Biden-Harris transition team explained that it was staggering the shots as a safety precaution, so that any unexpected reactions to the injection would not leave the whole campaign hamstrung.
Both vaccines require two doses. Pfizer-BioNTech requires that the two doses of its vaccine be administered over two visits weeks apart while Moderna’s doses are spaced 28 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is said to be more than 94% effective two weeks after the second dose, while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is said to be more than 95% effective a week after the second dose.
Noting that her husband, Doug Emhoff would also receive the Moderna vaccine Tuesday, Harris plugged the importance of widespread vaccination to the American people.
“I trust the scientists,” Harris told the cameras. “And it is the scientists who created and approved this vaccine, so I urge everyone — when it is your turn: get vaccinated. It’s about your life, the life of your family members, and the life of your community.”
Pfizer was the first vaccine to receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the first week of December. A week later, Moderna’s vaccine was also approved for emergency use.
Vice President Mike Pence; his wife, Karen Pence; and Surgeon General Jerome Adams were also vaccinated before cameras with the Pfizer vaccine this month. President Donald Trump, who contracted the novel coronavirus in October, has not been publicly vaccinated.
About a week ago after his first shot, Biden lauded Operation Warp Speed, the vaccine coordination and deployment effort started under Trump, saying that “the administration deserves some credit, getting this off the ground.” But on Monday the president-elect slammed Trump’s administration for failing to use its power to accelerate the timeline of Covid-19 vaccination distribution over the coming months. Biden has encouraged Americans to continue following public health guidance, especially in anticipation of a post-holiday surge of cases.
Addressing the economic repercussions of the pandemic, President Trump on Sunday signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package that will provide $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September 2021. Trump repeated his frustration, however, that Republicans had fought Democrats on sending out $2,000 checks to Americans making up to $75,000 per year. As part of the package, the checks top out at just $600.
Although House lawmakers voted 275-134 Monday to increase coronavirus relief payments from $600 to $2,000, the legislation has already hit a roadblock in the Republican-controlled Senate. Some Republicans have indicated they will vote in line with Trump, including Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — both defenders in Georgia runoff elections that will decide control of the Senate.