Vice President Mike Pence and President-elect Joe Biden have signaled that they’re set to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on camera in the coming days — but how about President Trump, who’s more than two months out since his hospitalization for coronavirus at Walter Reed Medical Center?
On Wednesday, the White House announced that the VP, second lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams will publicly receive a COVID-19 vaccine “to promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people.”
Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, is set to be the highest-profile recipient of a COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 Americans.
Biden is expected to be publicly vaccinated next week, according to transition officials.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,” Biden told reporters on Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
On the other hand, we still don’t know when Trump would receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a briefing that Trump is “absolutely open” to taking a COVID-19 vaccine.
After noting that Trump “did recently recover from COVID” and that he “has the continued protective effects of the monoclonal antibody cocktail” that he received during his stay at Walter Reed, McEnany said that Trump will receive the vaccine “as soon as his medical team determines it’s best.”
“But his priority is frontline workers, those in long-term care facilities, and he wants to make sure that the vulnerable get access first,” McEnany said.
Asked whether Trump will take the vaccine in public, in light of White House coronavirus officials Dr. Anthony Fauci and Moncef Slaoui saying that Trump should get the vaccine as well, McEnany dodged by replying that Trump wants to show the public that his administration’s priority is the “most vulnerable.”
As she tried to spin Trump’s denial of reports that senior White House officials would be among the first to get access to COVID-19 vaccines into an act of selflessness, McEnany admitted that “some senior administration officials” will get early vaccine access.
TPM reached out to the White House for an update on Trump’s COVID-19 vaccination status.
A day after McEnany issued her remarks, CNN echoed the White House secretary’s statement by reporting that Trump won’t be inoculated until he gets the clear to do so by the White House medical team, citing an unnamed White House official.
The official also reiterated McEnany’s remarks by telling CNN that Trump is still receiving the benefits of the monoclonal antibody cocktail he was given while hospitalized at Walter Reed in October.
According to CNN, the official said that Trump is likely to get vaccinated once he moves into a timing window to receive vaccination, which he is open to.
Much like McEnany, the official stressed to CNN that Trump wants to ensure that frontline medical workers are the first in line to receive the vaccine.