Why Is Mike Pence Getting Vaccinated On TV? He’s Basically The Only One In The White House Who Hasn’t Had COVID

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images.
Vice President Mike Pence has never been known for his staunch belief in science. In 2009, he refused to say that he believed in evolution; he has also consistently dodged questions about the very real threat of climate change, and we haven’t even gotten into his disastrous history addressing public health crises during his time as governor in Indiana. Many have pointed out that this made him extremely unfit to lead the country’s COVID-19 response, but on the bright side, he at least believes in science enough to agree to get the coronavirus vaccine. Baby steps, I guess.
Advertisement
Officials announced that Pence and his wife, second lady Karen Pence, will get vaccinated on Friday before cameras, as part of an effort to “promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people.” President-elect Joe Biden has also said that he’ll take the vaccine publicly next week for the same reason.
It was initially reported that the White House staff would be among the first to get the vaccine, but President Trump pushed back on this. “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,” he wrote on Twitter.
Pence was one of the few prominent members of the current administration to test negative for COVID after Trump — along with dozens of others, including First Lady Melania Trump, senior advisers Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller, and Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany — contracted the virus in October. White House officials told CNN that, because he hasn’t been infected with COVID and developed antibodies, Pence’s vaccination is the most urgent.
Trump has said he will take the vaccine at “the appropriate time,” but hasn’t yet committed to taking it publicly. “[Trump] is absolutely open to taking the vaccine. He's been emphatic about that to me privately and to you all publicly,” McEnany said at a press briefing. “But he did recently recover from COVID. He has the continued protective effects of the monoclonal antibody cocktail that I mentioned, and he will receive the vaccine as soon as his medical team determines it’s best.” 
Unlike Trump, who has consistently downplayed the importance of face masks and even mocked Biden for taking mask-wearing seriously, Pence has suggested Americans mask up and practice social distancing. But it definitely took him awhile to get there: He still isn’t in support of a Dr. Fauci-supported national mask mandate, and let’s not forget the time he didn’t wear a mask while visiting doctors and patients at the Mayo Clinic around the time cases first peaked in late April. Like I said, though: baby steps.

More from US News

R29 Original Series