WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top government health officials received their first dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received the shot around 10 a.m. ET at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, NIH Director Francis Collins, NIH Office of Research Services Director Colleen A. McGowan and six health care workers from the medical clinic were also vaccinated.
Publicly getting the vaccine “is as a symbol to the rest of the country,” Fauci said. “I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine and I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we could have a veil of protection over this country that would end this pandemic.”
Fauci and the other officials received the Moderna vaccine from the agency’s first shipment of 100 doses.
It was co-developed by the infectious disease institute and by Moderna, the biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine late last week and distribution of the first doses began on Monday.
Azar said in remarks before he received his shot that “this vaccine is more or less just like any other vaccine we receive” and that they still have to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
“I made it a personal priority to ensure that we were not cutting any corners in this development process, that the standards and data being used were fully transparent and that the final decisions made on these vaccines, were made by the same career FDA scientists who would make the decisions on any other vaccine,” Azar said.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday about the success of the vaccine roll out.
Distribution of both vaccines is going very smoothly. Amazing how many people are being vaccinated, record numbers. Our Country, and indeed the World, will soon see the great miracle of what the Trump Administration has accomplished. They said it couldn’t be done!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2020
The first vaccine to be authorized and distributed was the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine starting last week.
Fauci, 79, said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Tuesday morning before being vaccinated that it will be “an important moment” when he and others receive the shot.
“I’m doing it because I want to symbolize to people the importance that everyone gets vaccinated who can get vaccinated, but also it’s a good feeling of accomplishment, because this originated in laboratories in my institute,” Fauci said.