President Donald Trump said Sunday evening that he will take a COVID-19 vaccine at an “appropriate time,” but that he is not currently scheduled to take the Pfizer vaccine that was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday evening.
“People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you,” tweeted Trump on Sunday evening.
The president’s statement comes after Bloomberg News reported that some officials at the top of the U.S. government would be receiving COVID-19 vaccines this week in order to ensure the continuity of government.
Bloomberg reported the vaccine would also be offered to Trump, but it was unclear if he would take it, as he has already recovered from COVID-19. The CDC currently doesn’t know what kind of long-term protection people who have recovered from COVID-19 have against the virus, and what kind of long-term protection Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine regimen, which consists of two doses spaced three weeks apart, would provide to recipients.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council said Sunday evening, before the president’s tweet, that key officials across the three branches of government would receive COVID-19 inoculations as a matter of executive branch policy.
“Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to continuity of government protocols established in executive policy,” said spokesperson John Ullyot, reported the Associated Press on Sunday evening. “The American people should have confidence that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior officials of the United States government on the advice of public health professionals and national security leadership.”
It’s not clear to what degree Trump’s statement on Sunday evening would change this procedure with respect to the White House, as Trump did say personnel could still receive inoculations if it was “specifically necessary.”
General Gus Perna, the Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed, said Saturday morning that the U.S. government expects Pfizer to ship out 2.9 million vaccines this week to locations across the country by Wednesday. Should the FDA also grant emergency use authorization to Modern’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, the U.S. government expects to have 40 million vaccines before the end of the year, enough for 20 million Americans.
“Because of the sheer energy, the whole of America approach, I am absolutely 100% confident that we are going to distribute, safely, this precious commodity, this vaccine, needed to defeat the enemy: COVID,” said Perna.
This article has been updated to include additional information.
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