Along with the vice president, second lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams will be administered the vaccine, which has received emergency use authorization and is being rolled out nationwide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said earlier this week that he’d recommend both Trump and Pence receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
“You still want to protect people who are, you know, very important to our country right now,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Even though the President himself was infected and he has likely antibodies that likely would be protective, we’re not sure how long that protection lasts.”
Asked by a reporter last week if there was a plan to publicize the milestone in the US, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “You make me feel as if we should.”
The bewilderment highlighted the federal government’s lagging effort to instill public trust in the vaccine, which has often been treated as a political prize — and has been greeted with unusually high skepticism from the American public.
The percentage of Americans willing to take the vaccine is climbing, but it’s still lower among some key groups.
When asked why Trump wouldn’t want to take the vaccine to set an example that it is safe and heed the advice of public health experts, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said earlier this week, “Because he also wants to show Americans that our priority are the most vulnerable.”
McEnany said “career staff” and “national security staff” would be vaccinated for the purposes of continuity of government, as well as a “small group” of senior administration officials.
Some government officials have already been inoculated: Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller received his vaccine Monday afternoon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Most of the West Wing had been slated to be vaccinated until the President announced he was rescinding that plan once it became public. White House officials have described it as a difficult position: They are torn between wanting to instill public confidence in the vaccine by taking it and not wanting to be seen as jumping the line, given the limited supply.
CNN’s MJ Lee, Jeff Zeleny, Jim Acosta, Kaitlan Collins, Caroline Kelly, Annie Grayer, Sara Murray and Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.