US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received her first dose of the Moderna COVID -19 vaccine before live television cameras as part of a growing effort to convince the US public the inoculations are safe.
The vice president-elect took a dose of the vaccine at United Medical Center in southeast Washington, DC and said her husband Douglas Emhoff would do the same.
“That was easy! Thank you. I just barely felt it. I barely felt it,” Harris said after receiving the shot.
Senator Harris, who is Black and Asian-American, became the second high-profile person from an ethnic minority background to receive the vaccine after Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Dec. 18.
The 56-year-old wanted to get the shot live on television as a way of bolstering public confidence in the vaccine.
“I want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine – it is relatively painless … it is safe … it’s literally about saving lives. I trust the scientists,” she said.
The Moderna vaccine is part of the nation’s arsenal against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 330,000 people in the United States and upended life around the globe.
The president-elect and vice president-elect have now joined a growing number of elected officials who received the vaccine this month, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Biden is scheduled to give an update on the pandemic in Wilmington, Delaware, later on Tuesday after a briefing with his COVID-19 advisory team and warn that infection rates and the number of deaths are expected to increase in coming weeks, an official from his transition team said.
Biden and his team have warned the vaccine will take time to roll out to the general population and urged people to listen to the advice of medical experts to avoid infection by the coronavirus.
The United States has so far authorized two COVID-19 vaccines: one developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE and the other by Moderna. Others are being evaluated.