U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to publicly receive a COVID-19 vaccine injection on Monday to increase confidence in his safety from widespread spread over the next year.
Biden has vowed to make fighting the coronavirus, which killed more than 300,000 Americans and infected more than 17 million, his top priority when he took office on January 20. At 78 years of age he belongs to the risk group for the highly contagious respiratory disease.
Republican President Donald Trump, who lost the November 3 election to his Democratic rival, often downplayed the severity of the pandemic and monitored a response that health professionals labeled as disorganized and reckless, and sometimes ignored the science behind disease transmission.
Trump caught the virus in the fall, and several members of his inner circle and White House staff were also infected. The outgoing president, who made unsubstantiated claims of widespread electoral fraud, has focused for the past few weeks on overcoming his election loss even as daily COVID-19 deaths increased.
On Sunday, Trump’s campaign said he had again petitioned the US Supreme Court to improve election results by overturning Pennsylvania’s court rulings with postal ballot papers. Some members of Congress, who reached an agreement on Sunday on a new aid package in response to the pandemic, dismissed the lawsuit.
“I think based on the 57 cases and the initial decisions, any fair person would have to conclude that there is a narrow path by which the elections can be overturned,” said Republican Senator John Kennedy.
US VACCINE ROLLOUT
After the USA approved a vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE on December 11, sales of a second approved vaccine by Moderna Inc. began on Saturday.
Initial vaccinations were given to health professionals, and Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams received vaccines at an event held at the White House Friday as the government sought to build support for a nationwide program.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other members of Congress also received the vaccine on Friday.
A Biden interim official said last week that Biden would receive a dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, while Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would likely receive the vaccine a week after Biden.
Biden will inherit the logistical challenges of distributing the vaccine to hundreds of millions of Americans, and the task of convincing people who are concerned about its development has been rushed for political reasons.
Only 61% of respondents in a Reuters / Ipsos poll from December 2-8 said they were open to vaccinations. This does not match the 70% indications required to achieve herd immunity either through exposure or through vaccination. About 5% of Americans are infected.
Efforts to limit the economic impact of the pandemic on Americans were stepped up on Sunday as the leaders of Congress agreed on a $ 900 billion package to provide the first new aid in months. The vote is expected to take place on Monday.
The move would be the second largest incentive in US history after a $ 2.3 trillion relief bill was passed in March. Senate Democratic chairman Chuck Schumer said over $ 30 billion would be allocated to aid procurement and distribution of the vaccine “to ensure it is distributed to everyone quickly and free of charge.”
On Sunday, an advisory panel to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that key frontline workers and people aged 75 and over should be their turn to receive the vaccine.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)