Mike Pence Gets COVID Vaccine, Says He 'Didn't Feel a Thing'

Vice president Mike Pence has received the COVID vaccine live on TV, telling a press conference that he "didn't feel a thing" while getting the shot.

Pence got his vaccine alongside second lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House on Friday morning. The vice president is the highest-ranking individual to have a COVID vaccine in the U.S. The trio were among a handful of Americans to get the new vaccine this week.

After having the shot by Pfizer, Pence stepped up to a podium to deliver a speech, and addressed the health care worker from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that administered the shot. "Didn't feel a thing. Well done and we appreciate your service to the country," he said.

Pence told reporters: "We are gathered here today at the end of a historic week to affirm to the American people that hope is on the way. Karen and I were more than happy to step forward before this week was out to take this safe and effective coronavirus vaccine."

It was a "medical miracle" that a vaccine had been produced in less than one year, when the process can take up to 12 years, he said.

The event came as the U.S. reported all-time highs for cases and hospitalizations on Thursday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. 242,000 cases were reported, and 114,000 people were hospitalized with COVID in the U.S.

In an apparent attempt to boost public confidence in the vaccine amid a climate of hesitancy among some, as evidenced by the Statista chart below, Pence acknowledged that as COVID cases and hospitalizations rose across the country "vigilance and the vaccine is our way through. And building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning."

COVID vaccine hesitancy in U.S.

Pence went on: "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."

He said: "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 and 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."

The event was also attended by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the coronavirus task force led by Pence.

Fauci sought to allay fears that the vaccine was created to quickly, and said the speed was a reflection of extraordinary scientific advances, and did not compromise safety or scientific integrity. He highlighted the fact the tens of thousand of clinical trial participants put themselves on the line to prove the vaccine is safe, and that it was authorized based on the recommendations of an independent body.

Fauci said: "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."

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Vice President Mike Pence receives the COVID-19 vaccine in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., December 18. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images