Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Kamala Harris receives first dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received her first dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine in D.C. Tuesday morning.

Why it matters: Although the FDA has found the vaccine to be safe and effective, the 56-year-old Harris wanted to get the shot live on television as a way of bolstering public confidence in the vaccine.

  • Her husband, Doug Emhoff, also received the vaccination Tuesday.

The backdrop: President-elect Joe Biden was vaccinated live on TV on Dec. 21. His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, received her first dose that day too. Both will receive their second dose before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

  • The president-elect and vice president-elect join a growing list of elected officials who received the vaccine this month, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence were the first to receive the vaccine on Dec. 18.
  • President Trump has not yet received his vaccine, as he was treated with an experimental antibody cocktail during his COVID-19 hospitalization in October.

What they're saying: "That was easy! Thank you. I just barely felt it. I barely felt it," Harris said after receiving the shot.

  • "I look forward to getting the second vaccine. Literally this is about saving lives. I trust the scientists, and it is the scientists who created and approved the vaccine," she continued.
  • "So I urge everyone when it is your turn, get vaccinated. It’s about saving your life, the life of your family members and the life of your community."

The big picture: Harris, the first Black woman to be VP, received her coronavirus vaccine at a time when the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Black community has been laid bare.

  • Black Americans are more likely to be at risk of contracting and dying from the virus.
  • And the U.S.’s history of abusing Blacks with vaccines has contributed to a lack of trust in the coronavirus vaccination among some in the Black community.
  • Asked about dispelling fears the Black community may have about the vaccine, Harris emphasized the need to have the vaccine administered by medical professionals who know the communities they serve.
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