WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Senior U.S. health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, publicly received Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine Tuesday.
It was part of the National Institutes of Health COVID-19 vaccine kickoff event. Frontline health care workers also received shots from the health agency’s first shipment of 100 doses.
In yet another sign of public reassurance, before receiving the shot Fauci said he feels “extreme confidence in the safety and efficacy of this vaccine” and encouraged Americans to get vaccinated.
Azar echoed Fauci’s sentiments saying “I have absolute and complete confidence in the integrity and independence of the processes used by the FDA to approve these vaccines.”
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of NIH, helped develop the vaccine with Moderna, which was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use on Friday.
Azar said on Twitter that he believes it’s important to publicly get the shot to demonstrate that the vaccines are safe and effective.
President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on live television Monday as part of a growing effort to reassure Americans that the inoculations are safe.
Monday’s event came the same day that Moderna‘s vaccine started arriving in states, joining Pfizer’s in the nation’s arsenal against the pandemic that has now killed more than 317,000 people in the United States.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,” Biden has said of his decision.
Top government officials last week joined the first Americans to be inoculated against COVID-19 as part of the largest largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history.
Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other lawmakers were given doses Friday. They chose to publicize their injections as part of a campaign to convince Americans that the vaccines are safe and effective amid skepticism, especially among Republicans.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband are expected to receive their first shots next week.
President Donald Trump has not said when he intends to get the shot. He tweeted earlier this month that he was “not scheduled” to take it, but said he looked “forward to doing so at the appropriate time.”
The White House has said he is still discussing timing with his doctors.
There will be a full report tonight at 8/7c only on NewsNation on WGN America.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.