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Vice President Mike Pence, wife Karen to get COVID-19 vaccine live on TV to ‘build confidence’

mike, karen pence
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and his wife, Karen Pence, acknowledge the audience before he speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 24, 2017. |

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, plan to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in front of a television audience Friday, partly as a way of encouraging Americans to do the same. 

In a statement released Wednesday, the White House confirmed that the Pences will “publicly receive a COVID-19 vaccine to promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people.”

“Vice President Pence and Second Lady Pence will be joined by Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who will also receive the vaccine. This event will take place at the White House,” continued the statement.

Pence will be “the most high-profile person yet to publicly receive the coronavirus vaccine.” 

The vice president has been at the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and has overseen efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 for the past several months.

President Donald Trump, who has already had COVID-19, will get the vaccine as soon his doctors recommend it, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Tuesday, the Hill reported. 

Other prominent figures who have announced their intention to take the vaccine include former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as President-elect Joe Biden.

“I don't want to get ahead of the line but I want to make sure that we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, the COVID-19 death toll for the United States passed the 300,000 mark on Monday, with approximately 50,000 Americans dying over the span of 27 days alone. COVID-19 infections number over 17 million in the U.S.

As the United States reached the milestone in COVID-19 related deaths, the first shipments of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech were distributed nationwide.

Pence’s public commitment to take the vaccine comes days after the release of an ABC News/Ipsos poll, which found that 40% will get the vaccine as soon as possible and 44% plan to, but will first a “wait a bit.”

The poll also found that 15% of all respondents, as well as 26% of respondents who identified as Republican, have no intentions of taking the vaccine.

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