Biden and Harris should receive Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible, says Fauci

US president-elect indicates he will take vaccine publicly

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris should receive the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible, leading immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday, casting the issue as a question of national security.

"This is a person who very soon will be the president of the United States. Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will very soon be the vice-president of the United States," he said. "For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can."

Mr Biden, in brief remarks as he left for Georgia to campaign for the two Democratic candidates in the run-off Senate elections on January 5th, indicated that he would take the vaccine publicly. He has promised to deliver 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days as president.

Pfizer vaccine

The new Pfizer vaccine was distributed across America for the second day on Tuesday, as the death toll from Covid-19 in the country passed 300,000.


Amid expectations that Mr Biden’s inauguration on January 20th will be different than previous presidential inaugurations due to the pandemic, the president-elect’s inaugural committee outlined its initial plans for the event in Washington.

While Mr Biden and Ms Harris will take their oaths of office at the US capitol, and Mr Biden will deliver an inaugural address, the committee said it was “urging the public to refrain from any travel and participate in the inaugural activities from home”.

"We are asking Americans to participate in inaugural events from home to protect themselves, their families, friends, and communities," said the chief medical adviser to the committee, Dr David Kessler.

Rival to Mr Biden

Meanwhile, Mr Biden is poised to name Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary. The 38-year-old former Indiana mayor was a rival to Mr Biden for the Democratic nomination for president before throwing in his support for the former vice-president at a crucial point in the primary process.

Mr Biden will become the 46th president of the United States on the afternoon of January 20th. On Monday night, following his confirmed victory in the electoral college vote, he delivered an address to the nation in which he promised to be a president “for all Americans”.

“Once again in America, the rule of law, our constitution, and the will of the people have prevailed,” he said. “Our democracy – pushed, tested, threatened – proved to be resilient, true, and strong.”

Speaking after he had won 306 college votes, well over the 270 votes needed, he said that recent threats to election workers across the country were "unconscionable". He also hit out at President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election result, noting that Mr Trump himself also won the 2016 election with 306 electoral votes.

“By his own standards, these numbers represented a clear victory then – and I respectfully suggest they do so now.”

Mr Biden also directly chastised the 17 Republican attorneys general and 126 members of Congress who supported an ill-fated legal attempt by Texas to dispute the result in four other states.

“This legal manoeuvre was an effort by elected officials in one group of states to try to get the supreme court to wipe out the votes of more than 20 million Americans in other states and to hand the presidency to a candidate who lost the electoral college, lost the popular vote, and lost each and every one of the states whose votes they were trying to reverse.”

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent