Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Tuesday became the latest high-profile government official to receive a COVID-19 vaccination live on television.
The California senator received Moderna’s vaccine at United Medical Center in Washington, D.C., around 11 a.m. She said her husband, attorney Doug Emhoff, was also getting the shot Tuesday.
Harris was administered the vaccine by nurse Patricia Cummings. Afterward, the vice president-elect said, “That was easy!” and laughed.
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, received the vaccine developed by Pfizer on Dec. 21. Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many other congress members have also been given COVID-19 vaccines.
Like most of them, Harris sought to reassure any Americans who might be nervous or skeptical about the vaccine.
“It’s literally about saving lives,” Harris, who will need a second dose in 28 days, told reporters. “I trust the scientists, and it is the scientists that created and approved this vaccine. So I urge everyone, when it is your turn, get vaccinated. It’s is about saving your life, the life of your family members and the life of your community.”
Harris’ vaccination could prove to be a significant endorsement among African Americans, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 but are more skeptical of the vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black or African American, Non-Hispanic persons, are 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalized by the virus than whites, and 2.8 times more likely to die from it.
A Pew Research Survey released earlier this month found that about four in 10 Black Americans said they would get the vaccine, lower than any other demographic.
“I want to remind people that right in your community is where you can take the vaccine, where you will receive the vaccine by folks you may know, folks who are otherwise working in the same hospital where your children were born, folks who are working in the same hospital where an elderly relative received the kind of care that they needed,” said Harris, who is Black.