Dec 14, 2020 - Health

Trump says he will take COVID-19 vaccine, but reverses plan to give WH staff priority

President Donald Trump speaks during the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House
President Trump during the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit on Dec. 8. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Sunday night that he's stopped an administration directive to give White House staff the COVID-19 vaccine as a priority, but he will get inoculated against the virus "at the appropriate time."

Why it matters: NIAID director Anthony Fauci says 75%–80% of Americans need to get vaccinated against the coronavirus to achieve herd immunity. Vaccine adoption is a matter of trust, and trust in most institutions has hit generational lows.

  • National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that vaccine skepticism was a "source of great concern for all of us," as he urged people to "disregard all those terrible conspiracy theories."
  • National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot cited vaccine safety perceptions as a reason in his announcement Sunday that U.S. officials across the country's three branches of government had been given top priority for inoculation.

Of note: President-elect Joe Biden said before the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine he would get inoculated once it was deemed safe.

The big picture: The first batch of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines left Michigan earlier Sunday.

  • There are a limited number of the vaccines in production, and the CDC recommends priority is given to the highest-risk groups, including health care workers and long-term care facility residents.

By the numbers: Cases and deaths from the virus are continuing to soar across the U.S. Nearly 300,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and almost 16.3 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins.

Go deeper: Middle America is still racking up a ton of new coronavirus cases

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