WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden will receive the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Monday, according to the President-elect’s transition team.
The President-elect’s vaccination will come the week before he is sworn in as the next president of the United States, and as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the nation. More than 374,300 Americans have died of the virus as of Monday morning, and cases are rapidly climbing across the country.
Biden received the first dose of the vaccine last month live on national television as part of an effort by his incoming administration to reassure the country of the vaccine’s safety. The President-elect expressed his confidence in the vaccine and encouraged Americans to receive one as soon as it becomes available to them.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, like the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, requires two doses administered several weeks apart in order to reach nearly 95% efficacy. Both vaccines have received emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration, and so far about 6.7 million people have received a first dose, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are the first in line for the coronavirus vaccines, as recommended by vaccine advisers to the CDC. Next in line are older adults, ages 75 and older, and “frontline essential workers,” including first responders, the advisers recommended.
Biden’s pick for surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, told NBC last month that he believes the general population will likely be able to begin receiving the vaccine in “mid-summer, early fall.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine on camera the week after Biden received his shot in December. Transition spokesperson Jen Psaki said Biden and Harris were staggering the vaccine at the recommendation of medical experts.
Incoming first lady Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband, have also both received the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, respectively.
Biden’s most pressing priority when he takes office will be addressing the pandemic. The President-elect will aim to release nearly every available dose of the coronavirus vaccine when he takes office, CNN reported last week, which is a break with the Trump administration’s strategy of holding back half of US vaccine production to ensure second doses are available.
He has pledged to distribute 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots, which is enough to cover 50 million Americans, in his first 100 days in office. Biden has also said he will pass a coronavirus economic relief package through Congress, a goal that was helped by Democrats winning control of the Senate earlier this month.
Vice President Mike Pence was administered the first dose of the vaccine at an on-camera event the week prior to Biden. President Donald Trump has not yet received the vaccine and won’t be administered one until it is recommended by the White House medical team, a White House official previously told CNN.
The official said at the time that Trump was still receiving the benefits of the monoclonal antibody cocktail he was given after he tested positive for Covid-19 in the fall but that the President was likely to get his shot once it was recommended by his medical team.
In its clinical guidance for the coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States, the CDC said the vaccines should be offered to people previously infected with coronavirus, as Trump was in early October. It noted that vaccination could be delayed somewhat, since reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection.
However, there’s no safety or efficacy data for the vaccines in people who were treated for Covid-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma; Trump’s treatment for Covid-19 included the monoclonal antibody cocktail made by Regeneron. The CDC’s guidance said “vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure until additional information becomes available, to avoid interference of the antibody treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses.”
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