“For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can,” Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” referring to Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Biden’s running mate.
Biden should be “fully protected as he enters into the presidency in January,” according to Fauci.
Biden told reporters later Tuesday: “Dr. Fauci recommends I get the vaccine sooner than later. I want to just make sure we do it by the numbers. When I do it you’ll have notice and we’ll do it publicly.”
Trump tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, earlier this year, but Fauci said he should still get the vaccine to be “doubly sure” that he’s protected from the illness, along with Vice President Mike Pence.
“You still want to protect people who are very important to our country right now,” he said.
Trump “will receive the vaccine as soon as the medical teams determine, but his priority is frontline workers, those in long-term care facilities, and he wants to make sure that the vulnerable get access first,” White House press secretary told reporters in Washington.
A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council recently said doses of the vaccine, made by U.S.-based Pfizer and Germany-based BioNTech, would be given to top officials as part of government continuity planning.
“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 Ullyot said in a statement to news outlets.
“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,” he added.
But Trump took to Twitter to state that people working in the White House should receive the vaccine later on, “unless specifically necessary.”
“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,” he added.
Biden has expressed skepticism over the vaccine but later said he’d take it if Fauci said it was safe.
The Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for the vaccine last week and the first Americans were vaccinated on Monday.
Both Trump and Biden are in one of the two groups that experts say are more likely to experience severe cases of COVID-19 because of their age. Besides the elderly, people with serious underlying illnesses such as kidney disease are considered high risk.
Trump fought off the disease in October, spending several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. First Lady Melania Trump, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany are among the others in the president’s orbit who contracted the malady and have since recovered.
Fauci called the rollout of the vaccine “bittersweet” because the United States is still dealing with people being hospitalized with the disease. A small percentage of COVID-19 patients die.
“And yet, we’re really now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is going to ultimately get us through this. We know that we’re going to be able to put this behind us, but in the meantime we still have a struggle ahead of us,” he said.
“We’ve got to get people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as we possibly can until we get that herd immunity, as we say, which will require, in my opinion, 75 to 80 percent of the population getting vaccinated,” Fauci said, but until then he said public health measures, such as social distancing and wearing masks, should remain in place.
Asked to address vaccine skeptics who pointed to the shot being developed in record time, Fauci claimed that the speed hadn’t sacrificed safety, but “was the reflection in extraordinary advances in the science of vaccine platform technology.”