U.S. President-elect Joe Biden received a COVID-19 vaccination on live television Monday to convince Americans that the inoculation is safe as the country surpassed 18 million confirmed coronavirus cases.
“I’m ready,” Biden told a nurse at a hospital in Newark, Delaware, before being injected Monday with a vaccine developed by drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech.
“I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine. There’s nothing to worry about,” he said.
His wife, Jill Biden, was administered a dose of the vaccine hours earlier at the same hospital, which is near the couple’s Delaware home.
The United States has seen a surge in infections during the past two months, and on Monday surpassed 18 million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the global outbreak. More than 319,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
In addition to Biden, several other prominent U.S. officials have received a vaccination for COVID-19, including Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized with the coronavirus in October, has not said when he intends to get the vaccination.
Monday also brought the arrival of a vaccine produced by Moderna to sites across the country.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the Moderna vaccine emergency use authorization Friday.
The development significantly boosts U.S. vaccination efforts, with the Moderna vaccine joining the Pfizer-BioNTech one that was approved earlier this month.
The priority for the mass vaccination campaign is front-line health workers and those in nursing homes, addressing some of the most vulnerable populations before expanding to others.