Vice President Mike Pence will receive the coronavirus vaccine on Friday in a television broadcast, while President-elect Joe Biden will reportedly be vaccinated sometime next week.
The White House confirmed both Pence and his wife, Karen, will receive the vaccine Friday. According to two transition officials quoted by the Associated Press, Biden will receive the vaccine publicly next week.
Pence said Tuesday he looks forward to receiving a vaccine for COVID-19 and will do so without hesitation. The vice president made the remarks while speaking at a Catalent Biologics plant in his home state of Indiana. The plant is producing a vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health.
“We have come to the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic,” Pence said.
Pence is also stressing the need for Americans to stay focused on limiting the spread of the virus before a vaccine is in widespread use. He said cases and hospitalizations are continuing to rise in many parts of the country. The death toll from the coronavirus topped 300,000 Monday.
“It’s been a marathon this year. It’s been a marathon of heartbreak for many American families,” he said.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
“For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can.” He added he’d like to see Biden “fully protected as he enters into the presidency in January.”
Fauci said while President Donald Trump probably still has antibodies to the virus that will protect him for at least several months, he should get the vaccine as well to be “doubly sure.” Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19 in early October.
Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said all representatives will be required to wear protective masks while the legislative body is in session.
While presiding over the House on Tuesday, Pelosi said “masks will now be required at all times in the hall of the House without exception including while members are under recognition, and recognition will be withdrawn if they remove the mask while speaking.”
Also Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged elected officials to “step up” and encourage wary Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Republican leader said that as a childhood polio survivor, he’s a “huge supporter” of being vaccinated.
“Whenever my turn comes, I’m going to be anxious to take the vaccine and do my part to reassure those who are doubtful about this,” McConnell said at a news conference in Washington, D.C.
For those who say they will resist the vaccine, he said it’s “not good news.”
“We really need to get the country vaccinated,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do for yourself, for your family and for the country.”
NOTE: An earlier version of this story reported that Richard Bernhardt had tested positive for the coronavirus. Bernhardt was incorrectly identified as President-elect Biden’s nominee for Interior Department secretary. Bernhardt is actually President Trump’s Interior Department secretary. We regret the error.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.