Dec 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Top health officials publicly receive Moderna's coronavirus vaccine

Anthony Fauci, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins publicly received Moderna's coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's part of a broad government effort to televise top officials receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in order to bolster public confidence. Fauci, Azar and Collins are the first public figures to receive the Moderna vaccine, which was cleared for emergency use last week by the FDA.

Worth noting: The Moderna vaccine was developed in coordination with the NIH, where 79-year-old Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

What they're saying: "It is particularly meaningful to me as a member of the NIH for so many years, to be receiving today with Secretary Azar and Francis Collins and several of our health care providers, a vaccine that essentially had its origination and the fundamental research conducted here at NIH," Fauci said before receiving his shot.

  • "This, what we're seeing now, is the culmination of years of research which have led to a phenomenon that has truly been unprecedented," he continued.
  • "And that is to go from the realization that we're dealing with a new pathogen — a virus that was described in January of this year, to less than one year later to have vaccines that are going into the arms of so many people, including myself."

The big picture: Vice President Mike Pence and President-elect Joe Biden publicly received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine over the past few days, as have Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

  • President Trump tweeted earlier this month that he was “not scheduled” to take it, but looked "forward to doing so at the appropriate time.”
  • Surgeon General Jerome Adams has said the antibody treatment Trump received while being treated for the coronavirus has delayed the president's need for a vaccine.
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