Early vaccination drive in White House: An initial plan of inoculating White House officials in an early drive has been suspended by President Donald Trump. The Sunday news that White House staff would be among the priority groups to receive Covid-19 vaccine in vaccination campaign starting Monday across the US, had attracted criticism on social media. Officials had said that senior Trump administration members would be among the first to receive the FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
President Trump however tweeted later that White House officials should “receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary.” He also noted that he isn’t scheduled to receive the jab but would do so at the “appropriate time”.
It isn’t clear what made Trump change the plans and the impact it would have on efforts to keep key officials safe from the coronavirus infection.
US is set to roll out Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday after receiving EUA (emergency use authorization) from FDA last week. The vaccine which has been deemed to have 95% efficacy is being distributed across 50 US states to dozens of locations. The first three million doses of the ordered stock are shipping as we speak, with first shipment of those having left Michigan storage facility on Sunday. The priority groups to receive the vaccination include elderly and healthcare workers.
With US experiencing daily peaks of positive Covid-19 cases, the vaccine rollout will be a turning point in country’s fight against the pandemic. The virus has already taken a toll of over 300,000 lives in US. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) said that its EUA on Friday was a “significant milestone” in fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is already being administered in the UK after approval. Other countries to give regulatory approval to the Pfizer vaccine are Bahrain, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
The US vaccination drive commencement on Monday coincides with the official endorsement of Joe Biden as election winner by the Electoral College.
The early vaccines were planned to be reserved for President Trump and those working in close proximity to him, as was confirmed by National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Ullyot after being first reported by the New York Times. This was also in line with establishing confidence among American public regarding vaccine. Mr. Ullyot had said, “The American people should have confidence that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior officials of the United States government on the advice of public health professionals and national security leadership.”
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is an mRNA vaccine that will be given in two jabs at an interval of 21 days. The vaccine contains a small fragment of virus’s genetic material (RNA) that when injected will trigger the body’s immune response.
US has ordered 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine which will be supplied by March. 200 million doses of Moderna vaccine too have been ordered but the vaccine still hasn’t received FDA approval.