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'I Didn't Feel A Thing:' Pence Gets Coronavirus Vaccine In Public Event

Vice President Mike Pence receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex on Dec. 18.
Vice President Mike Pence receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex on Dec. 18.

The vice president, who chairs the White House coronavirus task force, was the highest profile U.S. official so far to have received the vaccine.

Vice President Pence, Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams received a coronavirus vaccine on Friday at the White House in a televised event aimed at showing the vaccine is safe and effective.

Pence, wearing a short-sleeve dress shirt, pushed up his sleeve to get the vaccine. He appeared to be smiling underneath his mask, and did not watch as he was administered the vaccine by a member of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

"I didn't feel a thing! Well done!" Pence said after getting the shot.

Pence, who was joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and others for the event, praised the FDA for its work evaluating the vaccines. He said he expects the FDA to approve the Moderna vaccine later on Friday.

Pence is the highest-ranking U.S. official to receive the vaccine so far. Pence, who led the White House's coronavirus response, is among a number of public officials who have committed to publicly receiving the vaccine as part of an effort to boost public trust in the process.

President-elect Joe Biden has also said when he receives the vaccine, it will be done publicly, to help court public acceptance of the vaccine. Biden is expected to get the vaccine as soon as next week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell each said they will get the vaccine in the coming days. It is also being made available to other members of Congress and staff.

President Trump has not received the vaccine. He has said he would do so "at the appropriate time." The White House has said Trump, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October, has antibodies to the virus, and wants to make sure that vulnerable people get the vaccine first.

These officials' receipt of the vaccine comes shortly ahead of an expected widespread distribution of the product. The U.S. death toll from the virus has topped 300,000 and is still climbing.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.