WASHINGTON (CN) — With 30 days remaining until he is inaugurated, President-elect Joe Biden on Monday received his first dose of vaccine against Covid-19.
Medical workers gave Biden the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which is 95% effective against the novel coronavirus, at ChristianaCare Hospital in Newark, Delaware. Pfizer’s was the first to receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The second occurred last week when Moderna’s vaccine, considered 94.1% effective, was approved for emergency use.
The future first lady, Jill Biden, already received the first course of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine earlier Monday. “She loves shots, I know,” the president-elect joked this afternoon, grasping his wife’s hand.
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence; his wife, Karen Pence; and Surgeon General Jerome Adams were also vaccinated before cameras. President Donald Trump, who contracted the novel coronavirus October, has not been publicly vaccinated.
Pfizer-BioNtech require that their two doses of the vaccine be administered over two visits weeks apart. The president-elect will receive his second dose soon while Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, are scheduled to receive their first Covid-19 inoculations next week.
The Biden-Harris transition team explained last week that it was staggering the shots as a safety precaution, so the whole campaign would not be left hamstrung if the injection happened to cause any unexpected reactions.
Biden’s inoculation was televised, a maneuver that his campaign hopes will instill confidence in the vaccine’s efficacy and safety.
“We owe these folks an awful lot,” the masked-up president-elect said as he rolled down his sleeve after getting the shot in his left arm. “The scientists and the people who put this together, frontline workers, people who were the ones who actually did the clinical work, it’s just amazing.”
Biden since his election in November has touted his administration’s willingness to work for “all Americans,” regardless of whether they voted for him in November. Amplifying that call for unity in Delaware on Monday, the president-elect lauded Operation Warp Speed, the vaccine coordination and deployment effort started under President Donald Trump.
“I think that the administration deserves some credit, getting this off the ground with Operation Warp Speed,” he said. “I also think that it’s worth saying that this is great hope of doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine.”
As cases of Covid-19 accelerate through the winter holidays, Biden warned against travel and reiterated a need to wear masks. As of Monday, more than 17 million people in the United States have been infected with the respiratory virus and 317,000 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource tracker.