White House staff, who work closely with President Trump, have been told they will soon receive injections of the coronavirus vaccine, at a time when the first doses will only be distributed to high-risk healthcare workers, according to two sources, who are familiar with the distribution plans.
The aim of distributing the vaccine in the west wing is to prevent any more government officials from falling ill in the final weeks of the Trump administration. The hope is to eventually distribute the vaccine to everyone who works in the White House, but the effort will begin with some of the oldest people working around the president, one of the people said.
It is not clear how many doses will be allocated to the White House or how many will be needed as many employees have already tested positive for the virus and have recovered. While many Trump officials said they were dying to get the vaccine and would take it if offered, others said they feared it would send the wrong message by making Trump employees appear to be hopping the line to protect a president who has already recovered from the virus, boasting that he is now “immune”.
The first doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine left a facility in Michigan early Sunday. UPS and FedEx have teamed up to ship cans for distribution to all 50 states.
“Senior officials in all three branches of government receive vaccinations in accordance with the continuity of government protocols set out in executive policy,” said John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, in a statement. “The American people should be confident that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior US government officials.”
He wouldn’t say whether White House officials who had already recovered would still receive the vaccine or whether Mr Trump would get one himself.
The picture was bleaker on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have struggled for months to offset the need to continue legislative work despite the staggering number of coronavirus cases within its own ranks. A congressional assistant said Sunday night that leaders on Capitol Hill had not yet been told how many doses would be initially available to lawmakers. Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, has been monitoring the coronavirus response inside the Capitol Complex, but he has not yet released any plans for vaccine distribution.
A spokesman for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. declined to say whether Mr. Biden or incoming officials would receive early doses of the vaccine. However, the president-elect said in a recent CNN interview that he would use the vaccine as an example once Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, said he was safe. “It’s important to let the American people know that it’s safe. That’s safe,” Biden said.
But after months of downplaying the virus and running campaign rallies and holiday celebrations where face masks were promoted but never needed, news from White House officials suddenly took the virus seriously enough to make early doses of the virus after months of downplaying the virus a to demand The vaccine was outraged by both Democrats and longtime critics of the President.
George T. Conway III, a prominent Conservative attorney and vocal critic of Mr. Trump, noted that White House staff had little public benefit as the vaccine required a second dose 21 to 28 days after the first injection. The president only has 37 days in office.
“If they were really interested in keeping employees safe,” Conway said wrote on Twitter“You would have been better off not holding super-spreader events.”
Tim Hogan, a Democratic adviser and former top advisor to Senator Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign, said Washington “will not cover nearly every health care worker with their first vaccine allocation, but rather a White House that has downplayed and captured the virus.” A nationwide super spreader tour of half a year will cross the border. “
He called the White House vaccinations “a last middle finger for the nurses and doctors on the front lines of the Trump administration.”
With a coronavirus vaccine spreading out of the US, here are answers to some questions you may be wondering about:
- If I live in the US, when can I get the vaccine? While the exact order of vaccine recipients may vary from state to state, most doctors and residents of long-term care facilities will come first. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help.
- When can I get back to normal life after the vaccination? Life will not return to normal until society as a whole receives enough protection against the coronavirus. Once countries approve a vaccine, they can only vaccinate a few percent of their citizens in the first few months. The unvaccinated majority remain susceptible to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show robust protection against disease. However, it is also possible for people to spread the virus without knowing they are infected because they have mild or no symptoms. Scientists don’t yet know whether the vaccines will also block the transmission of the coronavirus. Even vaccinated people have to wear masks for the time being, avoid the crowds indoors and so on. Once enough people are vaccinated, it becomes very difficult for the coronavirus to find people at risk to become infected. Depending on how quickly we as a society achieve this goal, life could approach a normal state in autumn 2021.
- Do I still have to wear a mask after the vaccination? Yeah, but not forever. The two vaccines that may be approved this month clearly protect people from contracting Covid-19. However, the clinical trials that produced these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. That remains a possibility. We know that people who are naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it while they don’t have a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensively when the vaccines are introduced. In the meantime, self-vaccinated people need to think of themselves as potential spreaders.
- Will it hurt What are the side effects? The vaccine against Pfizer and BioNTech, like other typical vaccines, is delivered as a shot in the arm. The injection is no different from the ones you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported serious health problems. However, some of them have experienced short-lived symptoms, including pain and flu-like symptoms that usually last a day. It is possible that after the second shot, people will have to plan to take a day off or go to school. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system’s encounter with the vaccine and a strong reaction that ensures lasting immunity.
- Will mRNA vaccines change my genes? No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to boost the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is eventually destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slide inside. The cell uses the mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus that can stimulate the immune system. At any given point in time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules that they produce to make their own proteins. As soon as these proteins are made, our cells use special enzymes to break down the mRNA. The mRNA molecules that our cells make can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is engineered to withstand the cell’s enzymes a little longer, so the cells can make extra viral proteins and trigger a stronger immune response. However, the mRNA can hold for a few days at most before it is destroyed.
A senior government official said vaccination officials were necessary to “provide visible guidance to the nation and the world and maintain the trust and confidence of the American people”. The official added that vaccinating West Wing officials would help them “continue essential operations without interruption” in order to continue the nationwide response to the pandemic.
There have been several coronavirus outbreaks in the White House in recent months. Mr Trump, the first lady and half a dozen advisors, tested positive in late September and early October. Dr. Fauci later called a rose garden ceremony to announce Mr. Trump’s election of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court as a “super-spreader event”.
A few weeks later, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and a group of other Pence staff and advisors tested positive.
And a third wave hit the west wing after the president’s election night party at the White House, where supporters gathered inside wearing no masks. White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, fell ill at the time, as did several other Trump advisors.
Most recently, Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani tested positive along with Jenna Ellis, another attorney on the president’s legal team.
Nicholas Fandos Contribution to reporting.