Updated Dec 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

U.S. officials prioritized to receive COVID vaccine

Workers move a large package of coronavirus vaccines

UPS employees move shipping containers of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at UPS Worldport in Louisville, Kentucky, on Dec. 13. Photo: Michael Clevenger - Pool/Getty Images

Coronavirus vaccinations for U.S. officials across the country's three branches of government have been given top priority, National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot said in a statement on Sunday.

Why it matters: There are a limited number of COVID vaccines currently in production, and the CDC recommends that the highest-risk groups — health care workers and long-term care facility residents — should be first in line to get vaccinated.

Of note: Vaccinations for government officials could start as soon as Monday, Bloomberg reports. White House staff members had been informed that they were scheduled to receive injections soon, the New York Times first reported.

  • President Trump tweeted Sunday night that he had asked for an adjustment to the directive so White House staff "should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary."
  • The White House did not immediately respond to Axios' request for clarification on Trump's tweet and the effect it would have on the plans, or whether only White House staff would be affected by this adjustment.

What they're saying: "Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to continuity of government protocols established in executive policy," Ullyot said earlier Sunday.

  • "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."
  • A senior administration official said that COVID vaccinations for U.S. officials are essential to allow the government to function.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's announcement on Twitter.

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