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Fauci receives COVID-19 vaccine, tells Americans he has 'extreme confidence' in it

Dr. Anthony Fauci has become the latest official to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on live television as a "symbol to the rest of the country."

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday publicly received a dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, as did Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, and numerous frontline health care workers.

The nation's top infectious disease expert moments before receiving the shot said it was important for him to do so not only because he regularly sees patients but also to show his confidence in the vaccine.

"As important, or more important, is as a symbol to the rest of the country that I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine, and I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated, so that we can have a veil of protection over this country that would end this pandemic," Fauci said.

Azar also assured Americans before receiving the vaccine that "I made it a personal priority to ensure that we were not cutting any corners" in its development, while Collins said that "rigorous scientific analysis" has shown that the vaccine is safe and effective.

These officials received the first shot of the Moderna vaccine, which requires a second dose, after President-elect Joe Biden also received a dose on live TV on Monday, telling Americans that "there's nothing to worry about" and they should get vaccinated as soon as they can. Days earlier, Vice President Mike Pence received the vaccine publicly as well, saying, "History will record that this week was the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic." Brendan Morrow