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Biden to receive Covid vaccine as Trump remains on sidelines

Donald Trump was hospitalised with Covid-19 in October and given an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment he credited for his swift recovery.

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US president-elect Joe Biden (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

US president-elect Joe Biden (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

US president-elect Joe Biden (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

US president-elect Joe Biden will receive his Covid-19 vaccination on Monday.

Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell were vaccinated on Friday.

All have chosen to publicise their injections as part of a campaign to convince a sceptical public that the vaccines are safe and effective, in hopes of finally putting an end to a pandemic that has killed more than 310,000 people in the United States and upended life around the globe.

Meanwhile, President Trump has not received the first of two vaccination shots, which began being administered last week as part of the largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history.

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Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, has recommended that Mr Trump be vaccinated publicly without delay (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, has recommended that Mr Trump be vaccinated publicly without delay (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, has recommended that Mr Trump be vaccinated publicly without delay (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Mr Trump has spent the last week largely out of sight as he continues to stew about his election loss and floats increasingly outlandish schemes to remain in power.

It is an approach that has bewildered top aides who see his silence as a missed opportunity for the president, who leaves office on January 20, to claim credit for helping oversee the speedy development of the vaccine and to burnish his legacy.

Mr Trump was hospitalised with Covid-19 in October and given an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment that he credited for his swift recovery.

The leader of the Trump administration’s vaccination program says people who have been infected with the coronavirus — a group that includes Mr Trump — should be vaccinated.

Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser of Operation Warp Speed, told CNN’s State Of The Union on Sunday that the vaccine is safe for those who have recovered and offers stronger and potentially longer protection than does the virus itself.

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Vice President Mike Pence receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shot (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Vice President Mike Pence receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shot (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Vice President Mike Pence receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shot (Andrew Harnik/AP)

“We know that infection doesn’t induce a very strong immune response and it wanes over time. So I think, as a clear precaution, it is appropriate to be vaccinated because it’s safe,” he said. “I think people should be vaccinated, indeed.”

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was the first to receive authorisation, “is safe and likely efficacious” in people who have been infected with Covid-19 and “should be offered regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection”.

While there is no recommended minimum wait time between infection and vaccination, because reinfection is uncommon in the three months after a person is infected, the committee said people who tested positive in the preceding 90 days “may delay vaccination until near the
end of this period, if desired”.

The advisers also recommended that those who received the kind of treatment Mr Trump did should put off being vaccinated for at least 90 days to avoid potential interference.

“Currently, there are no data on the safety and efficacy of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination in persons who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of Covid-19 treatment,” they wrote, recommending that vaccination “be deferred for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure until additional information becomes available, to avoid interference of the antibody treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses”.

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US Surgeon General Jerome Adams receives his vaccination (Andrew Harnik/AP)

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams receives his vaccination (Andrew Harnik/AP)

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams receives his vaccination (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Mr Trump, who has spread misinformation about vaccine risks in the past, tweeted earlier this month that he was “not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time”.

The White House has said he is still in discussion with his medical team about when he should.

“When the time is right, I’m sure he will remain willing to take it,” White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern said on Friday. “It’s just something we’re working through.”

Surgeon General Jerome Adams echoed that argument on CBS’s Face The Nation when asked if Mr Trump planned to receive the shot on camera to help allay concerns about its safety, especially among Republicans.

“From a scientific point of view, I will remind people that the president has had Covid within the last 90 days. He received the monoclonal antibodies. And that is actually one scenario where we tell people maybe you should hold off on getting the vaccine, talk to your health provider to find out the right time,” Mr Adams said.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, has recommended that Mr Trump be vaccinated publicly without delay.

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