As President Donald Trump and his administration celebrate the unbelievable and unprecedented fast rollout of a viable COVID-19 vaccine to American citizens in record time, the president made a surprise announcement over the weekend about his intentions as far as taking the vaccine.
According to The Hill, Trump announced that he and others working in the White House should not have top priority in receiving the vaccine, saying that he’s requested that they be bumped down on the list in favor of vaccinating others first.
“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 tweeted on Sunday.
The president’s order contrasted a report from The New York Times earlier on Sunday which suggested that White House workers and those closest to the president would be among the first to receive the vaccine.
While some members of the White House staff were eager to receive the vaccines, others suggested that it could be seen as “hopping the line” in front of those who need it the most, like frontline healthcare workers and the elderly.
Trump, along with countless members of the White House staff at all levels, have already had COVID-19 and recovered, which presumably was part of Trump’s decision to delay the vaccine from going to the White House first, although no official explanation was provided as to why he made that decision.
In a statement to The Hill, National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot indicated that senior officials across major branches of U.S. government would be receiving the vaccine.
“Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to the continuity of government protocols established in executive policy,” Ullyot said.
Whether or not Trump and his closest White House staffers receive the vaccine ahead of others remains to be seen, but Trump’s statement clearly shows that he has a much greater interest in protecting the lives of American healthcare workers so that the country can begin to wind down from the chaos created by the pandemic this year.