- The White House's COVID-19 testing czar said Sunday that President Trump should take a COVID-19 shot to generate confidence in the vaccine among Republicans.
- "I would encourage the President to get the vaccine for his own health and safety, and also to generate more confidence among the people who follow him so closely," Adm. Brett Giroir told ABC News.
- Polls suggest about half of Republicans could reject a shot.
- Trump tweeted on December 14 that he wasn't scheduled to take the vaccine, but he "looks forward to doing so at the appropriate time."
- Trump reportedly rejected leading the US vaccine drive, instead letting Vice President Mike Pence take the spotlight. Pence received the first dose of Pfizer and BioNTech's shot Friday.
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White House coronavirus testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir said Sunday that President Donald Trump should take a COVID-19 vaccine to encourage confidence in the shot among his supporters, following polls suggesting up to half of Republicans could reject a vaccine.
The Associated Press reported December 18 that Trump had explicitly rejected leading the US vaccine drive, and was instead letting Vice President Mike Pence take the spotlight. Pence became the first high-ranking US official to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Friday, saying he "didn't feel a thing" and that the vaccine was "safe and effective."
In an interview on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, Giroir said: "I would encourage the President to get the vaccine for his own health and safety, and also to generate more confidence among the people who follow him so closely."
Only half of Republicans said they would get the vaccine, compared to 73% of Democrats, in a Gallup poll published December 8. The poll also suggested that 63% of Americans were willing to be immunized against the virus. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll published December 15 suggested 56% of Republicans would take a shot, and 71% of the general population.
"I think leadership like the vice president, the surgeon general, should get vaccines because they will inspire confidence with the people who believe in them and trust them," Giroir said.
"Any leader who is influential over groups of individuals should have the vaccine," he said, adding "we have every reason to believe that this vaccine, these two vaccines, are very effective and they are safe."
Pfizer and BioNTech's shot was authorized by US regulators on December 2, and Moderna's vaccine received its own emergency use authorization late Friday.
Both vaccines are taken in two doses. Moderna's vaccine is easier to store and transport than Pfizer's, and the drugmaker plans to deliver 20 million doses in the US by year's end.
Trump tweeted on December 14 that he would take the vaccine, but didn't set a date. "I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time," he said.
Trump was waiting on the White House medical team's recommendation, CNN reported Wednesday. An anonymous official told CNN that the President was still experiencing the effects of the antibody cocktail he was given after testing positive for the virus on October 2.
Read more: Inside Moderna's historic coronavirus vaccine program that transformed the biotech upstart into a $55 billion drug industry powerhouse
President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to receive the first dose of Pfizer's vaccine on Monday, said Wednesday that "when I do it, I'll do it publicly."
Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have all said they would be willing to get their COVID-19 vaccines on camera to build public confidence in the shot.
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