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Pence gets vaccine as deaths top 3,000 for third day

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence received his COVID-19 vaccine live on television on Friday, seeking to shore up public support for vaccinations after U.S. deaths from the coronavirus topped 3,000 for a third straight day.

Pence, along with his wife Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams each rolled up their sleeves for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, which the Food and Drug Administration authorized for emergency use a week ago.

“I didn’t feel a thing. Well done.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also received the vaccine Friday, posting images of her inoculation to Twitter.

The U.S. pressed on with its initial immunization rollout Thursday, bringing a small sense of relief to health workers around the country as hospitals continue to contend with an unrelenting coronavirus surge.

Justin Chazhikatt, a respiratory therapist at Cedars-Sinai medical center in West Hollywood, California, was among the first frontline workers to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

"It's been hard, you know, there's a lot going on, it's been really tough on the staff here. It's just continuing to get worse and worse every day. So this is just a small beacon of hope for the future. It's a small step towards normalcy."

U.S. hospitalizations have set a new record on each of the past 20 days, approaching 114,000 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally.

This as the nation awaits the arrival of nearly 6 million doses of a new coronavirus vaccine, which could hit hospitals in a matter of days.

The Moderna vaccine has less demanding cold storage requirements than the Pfizer/BioNTech shot, making it a better option for remote and rural areas.

Both vaccines require two doses, given three or four weeks apart, for each person inoculated.

The positive vaccine news comes as the pandemic rages throughout the country. The U.S. reported a record 239,903 new cases on Thursday and 3,335 deaths, with a death toll now exceeding 311,000.

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