Biden and Pence to publicly receive Covid-19 vaccinations

Leaders hope to instil trust in vaccines as US tackles surge in cases

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 19, 2020 Vice President Mike Pence listens during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room of the White House. US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife will get the Covid-19 vaccine Friday in a public display designed to boost national confidence, the White House announced on December 16, 2020. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski

Vice President Mike Pence and president-elect Joe Biden are planning to publicly receive immunisations against Covid-19 to instil confidence in the vaccine.

Mr Pence and his wife Karen will be vaccinated at the White House on Friday, his office said.

The two will "publicly receive a Covid-19 vaccine to promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people", the office said.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams will be vaccinated with them, and there is talk of broadcasting their inoculations on live TV, Axios reported.

President Donald Trump has said he and other White House officials would not be among the first to be vaccinated.

Mr Trump was infected with Covid-19 in October, but guidance from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says those who have recovered from Covid-19 can still be immunised.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden is planning to receive his vaccination next week, CNN and USA Today  reported.

His transition team is working on how to broadcast his immunisation.

"I don't want to get before the line but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take," Mr Biden said on Wednesday.

"When I do it I'll do it publicly, so you can all witness me getting it done."

Mr Biden said he would confidently receive the vaccine because of the recommendation from the country's top infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci.

Dr Fauci gave his assurance on TV on Tuesday.

"You still want to protect people who are, you know, very important to our country right now," he told the ABC.

Dr Fauci also recommended that Mr Trump, Mr Pence and vice president-elect Kamala Harris be immunised.

The US is dealing with the world's largest and deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with 305,000 deaths recorded.

More than 200,000 Americans are infected each day and health centres are dealing with a record number of patients in hospital across the country.

The US has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and front-line healthcare workers will be among the first to be inoculated in the country.

The Moderna vaccine will be reviewed by a vaccine review panel at the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday and could receive approval as soon as that meeting concludes.

There is wavering trust in Covid-19 vaccines given how quickly it was produced and approved, and political leaders are hoping to encourage confidence by being immunised publicly.

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton have promised to receive their vaccines publicly as well.