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Trump relents, White House, other top officials won't get early vaccine access

COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 6:03 PM, Dec 13, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — After reports that U.S. government officials, including some White House officials who work in close proximity to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, would be offered coronavirus vaccines as soon as this week, Trump said Sunday that most White House officials will have to wait to get a vaccine.

Earlier, two people familiar with the matter confirmed that the newly approved vaccine from Pfizer would be made available to those who work in close quarters with the nation’s top elected officials. Meanwhile, public distribution is limited to front-line health workers and those in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The officials say the move was meant to prevent more COVID-19 spread in the White House.

Trump was briefly hospitalized after his diagnosis in October.

On Friday, the vaccine was granted an emergency use authorization, which allows practitioners to administer a vaccine despite it not gaining full FDA approval. The EUA means that the vaccine is allowed to be used in non-clinical settings, which would allow Americans not in a trial or hospital setting to get the vaccine.

Millions of shots would then ship to begin vaccinating health care workers and nursing home residents, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will need to formally recommend the vaccine before health care officials can begin distributing the shots.

Once it is authorized, it is expected that several million doses of the vaccine will immediately begin being distributed throughout the US to high-risk individuals. The first group of those expected to be inoculated includes health care workers and those who live or work in assisted living facilities.

Pfizer says that the vaccine is showing a 95% efficacy against coronavirus infection. A second vaccine could be approved by the FDA in the next few weeks. Moderna also has a vaccine candidate that is showing the efficacy of 95%.