Surgeon general says antibody treatment reason behind Trump’s delay getting Covid vaccine

US surgeon general Jerome Adams speaking to Face the Nation on Sunday 20 December ((CBS))
US surgeon general Jerome Adams speaking to Face the Nation on Sunday 20 December ((CBS))

US surgeon general Jerome Adams has claimed that Donald Trump has not yet been administered with the coronavirus vaccine because of a “medical reason” linked to the experimental antibody treatment he received while recovering from Covid-19.

Mr Adams, vice president Mike Pence and US second lady Karen Pence were administered with the coronavirus vaccine, which was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, live on television on Friday to promote its safety to Americans.

On Monday, President-elect Joe Biden and future first lady Dr Jill Biden will receive their first doses of the vaccine. President Trump is still not scheduled to receive the vaccine that was approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month.

The FDA approved a separate vaccine from pharmaceutical company Moderna last week, as the first doses of the Pfizer treatment have begun being administered across the US.

Speaking on CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Mr Adams was asked by host Margaret Brennan why President Trump is still not scheduled to be administered with the vaccine.

“From a scientific point of view, I will remind people that the president has had Covid within the last 90 days,” the surgeon general said on Sunday.

Ms Brennan pointed out to Mr Adams that having antibodies does not make someone immune from Covid-19, but the surgeon general replied that the treatment Mr Trump received when he contracted coronavirus in October is the reason why he has not yet been vaccinated.

“He received monoclonal antibodies and that is actually one scenario where we tell people, ‘maybe you should hold off on getting the vaccine,’” Mr Adams said.

He then told Ms Brennan that if someone has undergone that treatment then he recommends that they should talk to their “health provider to find out the right time” to be vaccinated.

Mr Adams added in reference to President Trump: “Politics aside, there is a medical reason.”

Mr Trump was treated for coronavirus at the Walter Reed Medical Centre for three days in October, where he received Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ experimental monoclonal antibody treatment.

In November, the treatment was approved by the FDA for use in treating Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms, in an attempt to prevent further hospitalisations amid a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases in the US.

At the time, Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the FDA, said: “Authorising these monoclonal antibody therapies may help outpatients avoid hospitalisation and alleviate the burden on our health care system.”

During Face the Nation on Sunday, Ms Brennan highlighted figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, which showed that 42 per cent of Republicans said that they probably would not get it or would definitely not get a coronavirus vaccine.

Ms Brennan then asked Mr Adams why the president “doesn’t just come out and do the public service announcements to the people who voted for him and trust him?”

Mr Adams replied: “I got vaccinated, the vice president got vaccinated, and plenty of Republicans look at him and see him getting vaccinated, and I hope that people will talk to their trusted health providers.”

He added that he hopes people will “get the information they need to make an appropriate choice to help us reopen our economy and to get back to normal and to save lives.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 17.6 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 316,209.

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