Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January: US media

Trump, who had continually downplayed the coronavirus threat, had not previously disclosed he had received the vaccine.

Former President Donald Trump quietly received the COVID-19 vaccine at the White House in January [File: John Raoux/AP Photo]

Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump quietly received coronavirus vaccines at the White House in January, according to US media citing a Trump adviser.

White House officials had previously said Trump, who was hospitalised after contracting the coronavirus in October, would receive the vaccine after he stopped receiving treatment for the infection.

The White House never announced Trump had been inoculated until reports emerged late on Monday. That was a stark contrast to Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence and President Joe Biden, who publicly received the vaccine.

It was not immediately clear why Trump and his wife did not publicly disclose they had received the vaccine.

Trump, as president, had repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic and criticised precautions. He continually held large rallies during his failed bid for a second term and he and his staff largely resisted social distancing and wearing masks.

The former president, however, appeared to strike a different tone during his first speech since leaving office, urging supporters at the Conservative Political Action Committee on Sunday: “Everyone should go get your shot.”

Trump also sought to take credit for the availability of vaccines as a result of his Operation Warp Speed programme.

The Biden administration has criticised the programme for not adequately coordinating distribution within states. In the early weeks of the Biden administration, only about half of the distributed vaccines had been administered.

That gap has gradually closed, with 76.8 million vaccines administered of the 96.4 million vaccines distributed.

“This was us. We did this. And the distribution is moving along, according to our plan,” Trump said.

“It’s moving along really well,” he said.

On Monday, Johnson & Johnson began distributing its vaccine, the third to be approved for emergency use in the US. That comes as cases have again begun to rise in the US, which is the hardest hit in terms of infections and deaths of any country in the world.

To date, 28.6 million cases have been confirmed in the US, with more than 514,000 deaths according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Source: Al Jazeera