On Sunday, President Trump said that he would delay the plan for senior White House staff members to take the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming days.
Last week, a Trump administration spokesman said top officials in the three branches of government would be among the first to receive the vaccine.
“Top officials would be inoculated against the virus in the initial rollout of the vaccine to ensure the health of essential employees”, National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said in a Sunday evening statement.
“Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to continuity of government protocols established in executive policy,” he said.
The statement came as shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is set to arrive at 145 sites across the country on Monday. The vaccine is expected to go to front-line medial workers and nursing home residents first.
“The American people should have confidence that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior officials of the United States government on the advice of public health professionals and national security leadership,” Ullyot said.
However, by Sunday night, Trump said he had requested an adjustment to the plans be made and that White House staff, including himself, would not be among the first to get the vaccine unless “necessary.”
Mr. Trump, who tested positive for the coronavirus in October and recovered after being hospitalized, also implied that he would get the vaccine himself at some point in the future, but said he had no immediate plans to do so.
“People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary,” he tweeted. “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!”
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2020
It was not clear how many doses were being allocated to the White House or how many were needed, since many staff members had already tested positive for the virus and recovered. While many Trump officials said they were eager to receive the vaccine and would take it if it were offered, others said they were concerned it would send the wrong message by making it appear as if Trump staff members were hopping the line to protect a president who has already recovered from the virus and bragged that he is now “immune.”