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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.

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.