By ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN
December 18, 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence became the highest ranking U.S. official to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday in a live-television event aimed at reassuring Americans the shot is safe. He celebrated the milestone as “a medical miracle” that could eventually contain the raging pandemic.
Conspicuously missing from the victory lap: President Donald Trump, who has remained largely out of sight five days into the largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history.
Pence, meanwhile, has taken an increasingly visible role in highlighting the safety and efficacy of the shots, including touring a vaccine production facility this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also received COVID-19 vaccinations Friday. And President-elect Joe Biden and his wife will be getting the vaccine Monday, while Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband are set to receive it the week after next.
“I didn’t feel a thing. Well done,” Pence told the technicians from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center who administered his Pfizer-BioNTech shot early Friday morning. Pence didn’t flinch during the quick prick, nor did his wife, Karen, or Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who also received shots during the televised White House event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
“Hope is on the way,” Pence later said. “The American people can be confident: We have one and perhaps within hours two safe vaccines,” he added, referring to the FDA’s expected authorization of a second vaccine by Moderna.