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Fauci, Other Top U.S. Health Officials Get Moderna Covid Vaccine

Niaid Director Anthony Fauci, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and NIH Director Francis Collins received Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.

Infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci on Tuesday received the first dose of Moderna's  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report coronavirus vaccine, on live television at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Also receiving the vaccine: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins.

"I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we could have a veil of protection over this country that would end this pandemic," Fauci said before he received the vaccine.

Last week Moderna's vaccine candidate received emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and became the second vaccine cleared for use against the coronavirus disease in the U.S.

The Moderna vaccine was developed in coordination with the NIH. Fauci, 79, is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases division of NIH.

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Fauci, an immunologist, will be chief medical adviser to President-elect Joe Biden and his administration. 

Former President Barack Obama recently said that if Fauci endorses a coronavirus vaccine, that will signal to him that it is safe.

Vaccinations in the U.S. began Dec. 14 with health-care workers, and so far 614,117 doses have been administered, according to a nationwide tally from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bloomberg reported.

On Monday, Biden received the coronavirus vaccine live on television at the Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del. 

He credited the Trump administration for its work on Operation Warp Speed, which helped deliver a quick vaccine, The New York Times reported.

“The administration deserves some credit getting this off the ground,” he said. “I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine," he said.