x

Politics

Trump Says He’s Nixing Plan for Early Vaccine at White House

December 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he was reversing an administration directive to vaccinate top government officials against COVID-19, while public distribution of the shot is limited to front-line health workers and people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 

Trump made the announcement hours after his administration confirmed that senior U.S. officials, including some White House aides who work in close proximity to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, would be offered coronavirus vaccines as soon as this week under federal continuity of government plans.

"People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary," Trump said in a tweet. "I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time."

It was not immediately clear what the scale of the vaccination program was supposed to be, according to two people briefed on the matter, or what effect Trump's tweet would have on the government's efforts to protect top leadership.

News that White House staff would receive the vaccine early drew criticism on social media. Trump and his aides have consistently flouted the COVID-19 guidelines issued by his own administration, including hosting large holiday parties with maskless attendees this December. 

Officials said earlier Sunday that doses of the newly approved vaccine from Pfizer would be made available to those who work in close quarters with the nation's top leaders. They said the move was meant to prevent more COVID-19 spread in the White House and other critical facilities. Trump was hospitalized with the virus for three days in October.

"Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to continuity of government protocols established in executive policy," National Security Council spokesperson John Ulyot had said. "The American people should have confidence that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior officials of the United States government on the advice of public health professionals and national security leadership."

The two people briefed on the matter spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The New York Times first reported that top U.S. officials would get early access to the vaccine.

The move to vaccinate top U.S. officials would be consistent with the rollout of rapid testing machines for the coronavirus, which were similarly controlled by the federal government with kits reserved to protect the White House complex and other critical facilities.

According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is not yet enough information to determine whether those who have had COVID-19 should also get the vaccine.

Pence has not come down with the virus, and his aides have been discussing when and how he should receive the vaccine as the administration looks to boost public confidence in the shot.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses administered three weeks apart, meaning Trump administration officials would receive the final shot just weeks before leaving office.

Aides to President-elect Joe Biden have been discussing when and how he should receive the vaccine and have been working to establish plans to boost virus safeguards in the West Wing to keep the 78-year-old Democrat healthy.

According to a Capitol Hill official, lawmakers have not been informed how many doses would be made available to them, adding it would be premature to speculate who might receive them. The official was not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

RELATED

WASHINGTON — When President Joe Biden speaks about the "scourge" of gun violence, his go-to answer is to zero in on semi-automatic weapons.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Search Effort Intensifies after Indonesia Quake Killed 271

CIANJUR, Indonesia — More rescuers and volunteers were deployed Wednesday in devastated areas on Indonesia's main island of Java to search for the dead and missing from an earthquake that killed at least 271 people.

VERONA, Italy (AP) — Early season merrymakers sipping mulled wine and shopping for holiday decorations packed the Verona Christmas market for its inaugural weekend.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian authorities endeavored Saturday to restore electricity and water services after recent pummeling by Russian military strikes that vastly damaged infrastructure, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying millions have seen their power restored since blackouts swept the war-battered country days earlier.

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union interior ministers on Friday weighed proposals to ease tensions between France and Italy over migrants arriving on their shores without authorization, including a possible crackdown on charity-run ships doing search and rescue work in the Mediterranean Sea.

Now that Donald Trump has thrown his hat into the ring for the presidency in 2024, he’s getting his wish: once again, for better or for worse, he’s the center of attention.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.