Dec 18, 2020
Mike Pence Remarks After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine Transcript December 18
VP Mike Pence publicly received the COVID-19 vaccine on December 18, 2020. Read the transcript of his remarks on vaccine safety here.
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Speaker 1: (00:07)
Backstage we have confirmed that you are not feeling any symptoms of COVID-19 this morning and have read all educational materials pertaining to this vaccine. Before, I have a couple questions for you. Have you ever had a serious reaction to any previous vaccines?
Mike Pence: (00:22)
Speaker 1: (00:22)
And are you taking any blood thinners or have any blood disorders?
Mike Pence: (00:29)
Speaker 1: (00:29)
Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
Mike Pence: (00:31)
Speaker 1: (00:34)
Are any of you immunocompromised or on immunosuppressants?
Speaker 3: (00:36)
Mike Pence: (00:36)
Speaker 1: (00:36)
All right, good to go.
Mike Pence: (00:36)
Speaker 4: (00:36)
[inaudible 00:00:52]. I’m just cleaning your arm off really good. Small pinch. All right.
Speaker 5: (00:36)
Your turn now. Just rolling up your sleeve. All righty. Small prick.
Speaker 6: (02:42)
Speaker 5: (02:42)
Speaker 7: (02:42)
Sir, I just need your shirt back, your left shoulder.
Mike Pence: (02:42)
Awesome. That’s great. Great job. Great job.
Speaker 5: (02:42)
So, before you guys leave today, you’ll be getting a shot record proving that you received the vaccine from us today. And this vaccine is a two dose series. So, that means you only need to come back in 21 days for the second one. Again, with any vaccine, you could have a pretty sore arm at the injection site, maybe some redness. But, if anything else happens, make sure to contact a medical provider or go seek medical care. Okay?
Mike Pence: (03:02)
Great. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (03:04)
Speaker 5: (03:04)
Mike Pence: (03:18)
Well, good morning and thank you all for being here. I want to thank my wonderful wife, our second lady, Karen Pence, the surgeon general, and Dr. Tony Fauci, and members of the white house coronavirus task force who are joining us here today. I especially want to thank the fine medical team at Walter Reed Hospital that administered our vaccine today. I didn’t feel a thing. Well done, and we appreciate your service to the country.
Mike Pence: (03:47)
As the Christmas holiday approaches, this is always a season of hope. We gather here today at the end of a historic week to affirm to the American people that hope is on the way. And Karen and I were more than happy to step forward before this week was out to take the safe and effective Coronavirus vaccine that we have secured and produced for the American people. It’s a truly inspiring day.
Mike Pence: (04:16)
As the people of this country witnessed this this past week under Operation Warp Speed, the first Coronavirus vaccine is literally being administered in states across the country to millions of Americans. And, make no mistake about it, it’s a medical miracle. The average vaccine, I’m told by our experts, usually takes between eight and 12 years to develop and then manufacture and distribute. But we’re on track here in the United States to administer millions of doses to the American people in less than one year. It is a miracle indeed.
Mike Pence: (04:54)
And I also believe that history will record that this week was the beginning of the end of the Coronavirus pandemic. But, with cases rising across the country, with hospitalizations rising across the country, we have a ways to go. And I want to assure the American people that we’re going to continue to make sure that our health care providers have all the support and resources they need to meet this moment. But vigilance and the vaccine is our way through. And building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning.
Mike Pence: (05:30)
Ever since I was asked by President Trump to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, I have been inspired by the diligence and energy of our researchers in this country. Early on, the president brought some of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world together in the cabinet room and said that we needed medicines, we needed therapeutics, and we needed vaccines, and we needed them in record time. I watched the historic pace with which the dedicated men and women at the FDA worked. But today, Karen and I wanted to step forward and take this vaccine to assure the American people that, while we cut red tape, we cut no corners. And thanks to Operation Warp Speed, thanks to incredible research companies, thanks to the great work at the National Institute of Health, and the great and careful work of the FDA, and the leadership of our president in Operation Warp Speed, the American people can be confident. We have one, and perhaps within hours, two safe and effective Coronavirus vaccines for you and for your family.
Mike Pence: (06:42)
And now, we’re in the process of distributing millions of doses of a safe and effective vaccine all across the country. Working closely with our nation’s governors, we’ve already seen the vaccine delivered to healthcare workers and seniors across the nation. This week 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been allocated. And next week, two million more doses will be distributed across America. And, as you all know, yesterday, the FDA Advisory Panel recommended approval of the Moderna vaccine. And, when it is approved, we expect later today we’ll be in a position to ship 5.9 million doses of vaccines all across the country next week. In fact, under Operation Warp Speed, we are poised to have vaccine for 20 million Americans before the end of December. It is truly a medical miracle and an inspiration to people across this country.
Mike Pence: (07:43)
It’s a tribute as well to the dedication of all of those working at the federal level and the state level who have implemented this project. From early on, President Trump gave the White House Coronavirus Task Force one mission, and that was to save lives. And, in the midst of one of the most challenging years in the life of this nation, I truly do believe that, despite the heartbreak and hardship that we have endured as a nation, that we’ve done just that.
Mike Pence: (08:15)
Working with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force these last ten months, we scaled testing. Now, we’re doing nearly two million tests a day, have performed more than 200 million Coronavirus tests across America, and the FDA just approved the first over the counter Coronavirus test for at-home testing for the American people. Working with a great team at FEMA and with the Department of Defense, we identified and distributed literally billions of medical supplies to our doctors, and nurses, and hospitals. And we’ll continue to ensure that all of our caregivers in this country have the resources and the support they need to continue to meet this moment. We saw to the development of therapeutics, Remdesivir, monoclonal antibodies, the good use of steroids, and other methods that have literally saved lives across the country. And, as we gather here today, and as we celebrate this week, we secured a safe and effective vaccine that’s being distributed all across America.
Mike Pence: (09:15)
I would be remiss if I didn’t take this moment at the end of this challenging year simply to say thanks to the men and women who served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. You will hear from several of them in just a few moments. But let me give credit where credit is due. I want to thank Dr. Tony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. I want to thank Dr. Robert Redfield and all the great men and women at the CDC. I want to thank Secretary Alex Azar of HHS and Seema Verma at the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.
Mike Pence: (09:50)
And I also want to thank the great team at FEMA that has stood up the greatest national mobilization since World War II, and Pete Gaynor, General Sanford, and all of those that have worked to make sure that the American people and our health care workers have the supplies they need has made an extraordinary difference in the life of the nation. I’m also grateful for the steady hand and leadership of Dr. Ben Carson, who has been with us every step of the way. I know I speak for every American when I say, and I speak for our president, when I say, thank you for your service in this year and in the days to come.
Mike Pence: (10:27)
The truth is the American people deserve to know that we’ve never been more prepared to combat the Coronavirus than we are today. And, even while we see cases rising, and hospitalizations rising, and heartbreaking losses, we’ll continue to marshal the resources that we have secured as a nation, including a safe and effective vaccine, to meet this moment.
Mike Pence: (10:49)
But that being said, it’s important that every American remember that all of us have a role to play. The way through this challenging time is vigilance and a vaccine. The day will come when we put the Coronavirus in the past, but it will be a combination of all the efforts that I just described, a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people, but also the ongoing vigilance of every American. So, as we reach this extraordinary and historic moment in the life of our nation, let me urge every American to continue to do your part, put the health of your family, your neighbors, and your community first. Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing or wear a mask whenever it’s indicated, or whenever you’re unable to practice distance. And listen to your local authorities.
Mike Pence: (11:45)
As President Trump often says, we are rounding the corner. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the light of American innovation and creativity. It is the light of life saving medicines and a safe and effective vaccine. After a year of heartbreak and hardship, the American people can be encouraged. And Karen and I hope this step today will be a source of confidence and of comfort to the American people. Thanks to all the men and women who’ve operated under Operation Warp Speed, that we have a safe and effective vaccine, and that these days of hardship and heartbreak will, in a day not too far in the distance, will be put in the past.
Mike Pence: (12:35)
So, with gratitude for the American ingenuity of our research companies, with gratitude for the incredible healthcare workers who have met this moment and continue to meet this moment in the life in the nation, with gratitude for all the officials at the federal and state level, and gratitude to our president for his vision with Operation Warp Speed, I’m confident that we will get through this. We will get through this together. And we will heal our land. So, thank you all very much.
Jerome Adams: (13:22)
Well, good morning, everyone. Thank you, Vice President Pence, for your leadership of the Coronavirus task force. And to the task force members here today, Administrator Verma, Administrator Gaynor, General Sanford, Dr. Redfield, my buddy Ben Carson, and one of my mentors, Dr. Fauci, thank you so much for the work that you have all done. It’s been a marathon. And the last couple of miles of a marathon, as the vice-president said, are always the hardest. But, by golly, the finish line is insight. So, we just got to keep on running. American people, we need you to keep on running. We’re going to get there.
Jerome Adams: (14:01)
We have our research community, as well as the tens of thousands of study participants across the country, to thank for showing us that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. And I have to acknowledge the many people of color represented among the researchers who developed the vaccine. Shout out to Dr. Corbett at NIH, an African-American female who helped develop these vaccines. Thanks to the scientists and doctors who reviewed it, particularly those of color, and the study participants who bravely volunteered to demonstrate its safety and efficacy. And Dr. Fauci and I had been working for months to make sure that the trials are representative of the population so that everyone can feel safe getting this vaccine.
Jerome Adams: (14:48)
Professionally and personally, to everyone who has made this day possible, thank you with all of my heart. As a practicing anesthesiologist at Walter Reed Hospital, a frequently deployed member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commission Corps who has helped stand up multiple COVID-19 testing sites, and an individual with asthma and high blood pressure, I am acutely aware of my own increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and the co-morbidities that increase my risk of complications. And, as the U.S. Surgeon General and a black man, I am equally aware of the symbolic significance of my vaccination today. As I’ve discussed with faith leaders as recently as last night, the creation of these vaccines is a gift from above. But vaccines, even ones that are 95% effective, will not alone end this pandemic. We must now do the necessary work to go from vaccines to vaccinations.
Jerome Adams: (15:49)
It would truly be the greatest tragedy of all if disparities in COVID outcomes actually worsened because the people who could most benefit from this vaccine can’t get it, or won’t take it. Working to combat mistrust and misinformation will be critical if we are to ensure the equitable protection of all Americans against COVID-19. Lack of trust, especially in communities of color, is not without good reason. The shameful Tuskegee Experiments occurred within many of our lifetimes. To truly promote confidence in these vaccines, we must start by acknowledging this history of mistreatment and exploitation of minorities by the medical community and the government. But then, we need to explain and demonstrate all that has been done to correct and address these wrongs, the many protections and safeguards in place like the Office of Human Research Protections, independent institutional review boards, data and safety monitoring boards, the FDA verb pack, and the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. These are all there to make sure tragedies like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, or the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks never ever happen again.
Jerome Adams: (17:05)
And finally, we’ve got to engage trusted voices, medical organizations like the National Medical Association and the National Hispanic Medical Association, faith leaders, and minority gatekeepers, like the historically black colleges and universities, the divine nine, tribal leaders, and the national conference of Hispanic State Legislators, all of whom I’ve spoken with frequently and as recently as this week. Because, when these gatekeepers are informed and confident, their communities will be informed and confident.
Jerome Adams: (17:36)
I want to close by saying, I know the importance of representation. Many of you have heard me tell this story. I never believed I could be a doctor, much less the Surgeon General of the United States, because I’d never met another black doctor, even though I had straight A’s. The first doctor I met of color was Dr. Ben Carson when I was in college. It took me that long to believe that I could be it, because it took me that long to see it. And that’s why I could not be more pleased or feel more called to receive this vaccine that so many people of color had a hand in developing and testing and that has the potential to correct at least some of the health disparities this pandemic has unveiled.
Jerome Adams: (18:19)
And finally, to all the people of this great nation, it is not only okay to have questions about a treatment that you’re being offered, it’s normal. And I want you to understand that. But what is not normal is to let misinformation or mistrust cause you to make a decision that is bad for your health. So, I promise I will keep working. I’ll keep working day and night to make sure you get your questions answered and to restore your trust. I got the facts and I made a choice to protect my health. When it’s your turn, I need you to be informed and I need you to make a choice that’s going to be appropriate for your health. Thank you so much. And I’ll turn things over now to Dr. Fauci.
Dr. Fauci: (19:08)
Thank you very much, Jerome. Mr. Vice President, Second Lady, Madame Pence, Jerome, thank you. I really feel extraordinarily privileged and honored to be with you here today to make a few comments about a most extraordinary undertaking that you see here today culminating in something that is an actionable intervention that will get us out of the extraordinary experience that we’ve had over the last year. As I was sitting here listening to the remarks of Vice President Pence and Jerome, I was looking over at Bob Redfield and recalling that it was about a year plus a few weeks that Bob called me up one evening at home and told me, “I think we have a problem. I’m getting information from my sources in China that there is something very unusual going on there. And I’m very concerned about it.” Literally a week and a half later, the effort that led to where we are today to see the Vice President of the United States and the Surgeon General get vaccinated with a safe and effective vaccine, literally a few days after that, the work began to develop the vaccine.
Dr. Fauci: (20:24)
And what we saw was the marriage between years of fundamental, basic, and clinical research that led to the extraordinary technology that have allowed us, and when I say us, I mean the medical community, so many people from so many different agencies, in academia, in government, and an industry to do something that is truly unprecedented. So, we started literally days after that phone call that I had with Bob. And, over a period of months, as opposed to years, we saw the development in record time of a vaccine that is shown to be safe and effective. We want virtually everyone eligible to get this vaccine ultimately.
Dr. Fauci: (21:11)
Two questions get asked when people have hesitancy or reluctance to get vaccinated. Did you go too quickly, is the first. The answer to that is, the speed was a reflection of extraordinary scientific advances and did not compromise safety, nor did it compromise scientific integrity.
Dr. Fauci: (21:34)
The next question is, okay, but what about the fact, is it really safe and is it really effective? Or is this something the government is trying to put over on us? Is this something that companies want to take advantage of? Well, let’s take a look at what’s happened over the past few months. We’ve had clinical trials. And, thanks to the volunteers in that trial, in tens of thousands who have put themselves on the line to prove to the country and the world that these are safe and effective products. The decision as to whether or not it’s safe and effective was not in the hands of the company, nor was it in the hands of the administration. It was in the hands of an independent body of individuals, scientists, vaccinologists, ethicists, statisticians to examine the data independently and say it is ready to look at for approval. At which point the company submits it to the FDA. And, together with the Advisory Committee of the FDA, make the decision, it is now ready to go. So, the process was independent and totally transparent, which brings us to where we are today.
Dr. Fauci: (22:50)
This important symbolic vaccination of the Vice President of the United States and the Surgeon General of the United States, which is something we want to be symbolic to tell the rest of the country, the time is now to step to the plate, and when your time comes, to get vaccinated. Because, when we’re speaking to you here today, I often say, “It is really bittersweet.” The bitterness is the fact of what the Vice President mentioned. We still are in the middle of a very difficult situation, with record numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. But the sweetness is the light at the end of the tunnel, which I can tell you, as we get into January, February, March, and April, that light is going to get brighter and brighter. And the bitterness is going to be replaced by the sweetness. And we all hope, and I think this is doable, that by the time we get to several months into this year, we will have enough people protected that we can start thinking seriously about the return to normality. And that’s up to all of us to step forward and get vaccinated. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (24:00)
Thank you all very, very much.
Speaker 10: (24:10)
Where is the president? Why isn’t he here? [Crosstalk 00:24:14].
Vice President, wouldn’t it be important for the president to be here?
Speaker 10: (24:44)
Who will get the vaccine next, Vice President Pence?
Mike Pence: (24:44)
Dr. Fauci: (24:44)
Speaker 12: (24:44)
All right. This is Avery. I’m signing off.