NEW YORK — Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer have all taken the vaccine for the new coronavirus. President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden are supposed to get the shot next week.
Millions of people around the country watched Monday as Sandra Lindsay became the first American to receive the new coronavirus vaccine.
Lindsay is a registered nurse and the director of patient care services at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens.
She said she wanted "to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe."
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine have already been distributed throughout the United States and a second vaccine — manufactured by Moderna — was just approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, Nature reports.
Both vaccines are said by medical experts to be more than 90 percent effective.
So there seems to finally be a little light at the end of an 11-month coronavirus tunnel — if enough people get the vaccination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that getting a vaccine for the new coronavirus is a safer way to be protected against the disease than actually being infected by the virus.
"Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity," the agency said. "But experts don't know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity."
There has been skepticism about the vaccine — which is based on such things as the speed at which it was developed and, some say, governmental interference in the approval process.
A recent Axios/Ipsos poll found that, with the climbing infection rate and the deaths of more than 300,000 Americans, more people in the United States are willing to get vaccinated against the virus.
The poll was taken in the days immediately after the Pfizer vaccine received FDA approval.
Axios/Ipsos said 27 percent of Americans plan to get the vaccine as soon as it is available. That is more than twice the number — 13 percent — who said they would in mid-September.
Pollsters said Americans were almost evenly split about taking the vaccine as soon as possible — 38 percent — or waiting a few months or even a year — 40 percent.
The number of people who said they will not get the vaccine remains at 21 percent — unchanged from September.
The Axios/Ipsos poll was conducted Dec. 11-14 with a sample of 1,101 people 18 or older. The margin of error is 3 percent to 3.4 percent.
Now it's your turn to weigh in on the issue. Vote in our unscientific poll and tell us what you think in the comments.