High-ranking White House staffers who work closely with President Donald Trump will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as this week ahead of the general public, according to a new report.
Staffers who work in close quarters to Trump will be the first to receive the newly-approved vaccine, while its public distribution is limited to front-line health workers and people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
The first access to the vaccine in the West Wing is a bid to prevent further Trump officials from contracting the virus in his final weeks in office after a swathe of leaders, including Trump and First Lady Melania, contracted it earlier this year, two sources familiar with the distribution plans said to the New York Times.
One source said the hope is to eventually inoculate everyone who works in the White House, starting with the most senior people who work around the president.
The first trucks carrying Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine rolled out of Michigan’s manufacturing plant on Sunday headed for hospitals and other sites across the country.
High-ranking White House staffers who work closely with President Donald Trump will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as this week ahead of the general public, according to a new report
Pfizer said the first shipments will deliver three million doses to 64 states, U.S. territories and major cities, as well as five federal agencies around the country.
Top officials, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, are on the list to receive the vaccine following high ranking Trump staffers, an official said to CNN.
It was not immediately clear how many officials would be offered the vaccine initially and whether Trump or Pence would get it.
The Trump administration is undertaking the vaccination program under federal continuity of government plans, officials said.
‘Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to continuity of government protocols established in executive policy,’ National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said in a statement.
‘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,’ the statement added.
Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows tested positive for COVID-19 on November 5. He tested positive two days after spending time at the White House with Trump’s family on election night.
Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who are both advisors to the president, could be among the first to receive the vaccine
UPS employees move one of two shipping containers containing the first shipments of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on a ramp at UPS Worldport in Louisville, Kentucky on Sunday
Boxes containing the first shipments of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are unloaded from air shipping containers at UPS Worldport on Sunday in Louisville, Kentucky
The shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine are being staggered, first arriving at 145 distribution centers Monday, with an additional 425 sites receiving shipments by Tuesday
Pfizer said the first shipments will deliver three million doses to 64 states, U.S. territories and major cities, as well as five federal agencies around the country
It’s not clear how many doses will be allocated to the White House or how many are needed as many staffers have already had the virus and recovered.
Health officials say that the first vaccines should be prioritized for health care workers at the forefront of the pandemic and high-risk people like the elderly.
However, the reaction to the White House vaccine rollouts have been split.
Some Trump officials said they were eager to take the vaccine and others expressed concern it could send the wrong message and could appear as if Trump staffers were getting vaccinated to protect the president, even though he’s already recovered from the virus and has bragged that he’s ‘immune’.
Since the start of the pandemic, the White House has seen several outbreaks of coronavirus as the president denounced state lockdowns, held packed rallies, and flouted wearing a mask on several locations.
In late September into early October Trump and Melania and half a dozen advisers tested positive for the virus.
A few weeks later an outbreak among Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short and other staffers caught the virus.
After Trump’s election night party at the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows contracted COVID-19 as well as other Trump advisers.
Trump’s administration has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the virus, claiming at times it will just ‘disappear’, even has there have more than 16million cases of the virus and more than 297,000 deaths.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses administered three weeks apart, meaning Trump administration officials would receive the final shot just weeks before leaving office.
The Trump administration’s vaccination plan could prove to be a boon for his successor, as aides to President-elect Joe Biden have been discussing when and how he should receive the vaccine and working to establish plans to boost virus safeguards in the West Wing to keep the 78-year-old Democrat healthy.