"Congratulations WORLD!" President Donald Trump tweeted Select hospitals are preparing to administer the first innoculations in the United States of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine outside trial on Monday, marking a pivotal turn in the effort to curb a virus that has killed almost 300,000 people in the country. Many White House officials have already had COVID-19, potentially dampening their need for quick access to the vaccine.
He wrote: "People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary". "I have asked that this adjustment be made".
The New York Times reported that aides wanted to swiftly vaccinate those who work close to Trump to try to avoid any more White House illnesses before the Trump presidency ends. The specific timing of when they were supposed to receive the vaccine was not clear.
News that White House staff would receive the vaccine early drew criticism on social media.
One of the sources said it will begin with some of the most senior people who work around the president.
Reacting, Trump, who took to his Twitter handle said he was "not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time".
Army Gen. Gustave Perna said Saturday that trucks will roll out Sunday morning as shipping companies UPS and FedEx begin delivering Pfizer's vaccine to almost 150 distribution centers across the states.
"Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to continuity-of-government protocols established in executive policy", said National Security Council spokesperson John Ulyot.
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. Moderna also has a vaccine candidate that is showing the efficacy of 95%. "It's important to communicate to the American people it's safe; it's safe to do this", Biden said.
The move to vaccinate top United States officials would be consistent with the rollout of rapid testing machines for the coronavirus, which were similarly controlled by the federal government with kits reserved to protect the White House complex and other critical facilities.
It is unclear exactly who would receive the first shots, though healthcare workers and nursing home residents are expected to be the main recipients of the first round of 2.9 million doses.
U.S. President Donald Trump departs on the South Lawn of the White House, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.
He called the White House vaccinations "a final middle finger to the nurses and doctors on the front lines from the Trump administration".