Trump slows plan for White House staffers to get Covid vaccine early

Trump slows plan for White House staffers to get Covid vaccine early

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said late Sunday night that he decided to postpone a plan for White House staffers to soon receive the Covid-19 vaccine, saying they should receive it “later” in the rollout.

“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. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!” Trump said in a tweet.

This came after the National Security Council at the White House said Sunday that senior officials across all three branches of government, including the White House, executive agencies, Congress and the judiciary, would get early access to the vaccine.

NBC News reported that the early access was needed to ensure that there’s a continuity of government, vaccinating people in high-level roles who are responsible for keeping the government functioning in a crisis. The specific timing of when they were supposed to receive the vaccine was not clear.

Over the last few months, more than 50 Trump administration officials, campaign officials or contacts within those orbits have tested positive for Covid-19. Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers, was recently hospitalized in Washington, D.C., after testing positive for the disease but has been released.

Trump’s statement came ahead of the delivery Monday of the first federally approved coronavirus vaccine to 145 locations across all 50 states. An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that front-line health care workers and long-term care facilities should be prioritized to receive the vaccine first.

It’s unclear, meanwhile, when President-elect Joe Biden, 78, will receive a vaccine.

On Friday, Biden did not answer a shouted question on the topic. Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters:

“We’ve talked about this a little bit in the past couple of weeks, I don’t have anything new for you in terms of our plans … our focus at this point is really on what we can do to ensure that the vaccine is distributed, that it’s safe, that we are planning for all scenarios. We know this challenge is unprecedented in order to help the American people, but we don’t have anything more for you on the timing for the president-elect or, or how that would happen or whether it would be televised.”

Rebecca Shabad

Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.

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