When is Trump White House staff receiving covid-19 vaccine?
More controversy surrounded the administration of Donald Trump, as those close to him appeared to be prioritised over those considered higher risk and frontline teams.
As the newly approved vaccines started to be administered to Americans for the first time - a Long Island critical care nurse, Sandra Lindsay, was named as the first - there was plenty sighs of reliefs around the country. Most intelligent people realise that this is not a green light to start acting irresponsibly and that health protocols should continue to be followed, however eyebrows were raised over the reported plan to focus on White House officials as part of the early vaccine roll out.
White House vaccine priorty 'adjusted', says Trump
President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other top US officials were to be offered the vaccine as part of a plan aimed at ensuring the continuity of government, a source familiar with the plans said. Essential personnel at the White House and certain officials in all three branches of government were to be vaccinated within the next 10 days, said the source.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump would get the vaccine immediately, given that he has already contracted the novel coronavirus and recovered, and there was an outcry from those who pointed to the consistent messaging from an administration keen to downplay the importance of the virus.
On the back of the criticism the lame duck president took to Twitter to extinguish the flames, saying that "people working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary."
He addded that he had "asked that this adjustment be made." Skeptics point to Trump's legacy of
It was also not clear whether President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and other members of Biden's transition team would be offered vaccinations.
US passes 300,000 covid-19 deaths
A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel on Saturday recommended the nation's first covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, as the US covid-19 death toll topped 300,000.
Doses of the vaccine will reach 145 locations across the country on Monday, with initial doses to go to healthcare workers and elderly residents of long-term care homes.
National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said senior officials in the executive branch, Congress and judiciary would also receive vaccinations in line with a protocol aimed at ensuring the US government can continue to operate during a pandemic or catastrophic emergency.
"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," Ullyot said in a statement.
A senior administration official said a comprehensive "National Continuity Policy" was established by the administration of former President Barack Obama in July 2016.
"This will further ensure that the United States government will continue essential operations, without interruption, for our citizens as we continue to fight this pandemic and work toward a return to prosperity for our nation," the official said.