Some people have said that they wouldn’t get vaccinated against the coronavirus until they saw Dr. Anthony Fauci do it, so the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert got his COVID-19 shot on camera on Tuesday.
Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar both rolled up their sleeves for a live-streamed COVID-19 vaccination event hosted by the National Institutes of Health. They received Moderna’s /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA -4.45% vaccine candidate, to which the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency-use authorization last Friday, just a week after the FDA authorized the BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -5.77% and Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -2.33% vaccine for emergency use.
The NIH and NIAID co-developed the Moderna vaccine with funding support through the White House’s “Operation Warp Speed,” a public–private partnership to accelerate developing and distributing a COVID-19 vaccine to bring an end to the pandemic that has infected more than 18 million Americans and killed more than 300,000. (The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidate was developed separate from the “Warp Speed” initiative.)
‘I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated, so that we can have a veil of protection over this country that would end this pandemic.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci
Health-care workers and residents of long-term-care facilities — two populations at particularly high risk for contracting COVID-19 — have been the first in line to get either vaccine so far, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation, although public figures and politicians including Vice President Mike Pence and President-elect Joe Biden have also received their first doses of the vaccine.
Fauci, who turns 80 on Christmas Eve, said he was among the first in line for the shot for two reasons: He is still seeing patients as an attending physician, and he wants to help convince the many Americans who are hesitant about getting vaccinated that the inoculations are safe and effective.
“More important is as a symbol to the rest of the country that I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine,” Fauci said as he was being vaccinated Tuesday morning. “And I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated, so that we can have a veil of protection over this country that would end this pandemic.”
Here’s Fauci getting vaccinated:
Most Americans will be able to get their COVID-19 shots by spring and summer, health officials say.
While more Americans now say that they’ll get a COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available to them, U.S. surveys from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Axios have found that more than one in five people is hesitant about being vaccinated. Fauci has said that at least 75% to 85% of the country needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity and stop the spread of COVID-19.
But a former Democratic congressman has another idea for encouraging more folks to get their COVID-19 shots: giving them an extra $300 or $400 in their stimulus checks.