Biden to receive coronavirus vaccine as U.S. inoculation effort mounts
By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to publicly receive an injection of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday in an effort to boost confidence in its safety ahead of its wide distribution next year. Biden has vowed to make the fight against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 300,000 Americans and infected more than 17 million, his top priority when he takes office on Jan.
By David Brunnstrom
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to publicly receive an injection of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday in an effort to boost confidence in its safety ahead of its wide distribution next year.
Biden has vowed to make the fight against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 300,000 Americans and infected more than 17 million, his top priority when he takes office on Jan. 20. At age 78, he is in the high-risk group for the highly contagious respiratory disease.
A Biden transition official said the Democratic president-elect would receive a dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc, while Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would likely get the vaccine next week.
Biden will inherit the logistical challenges of distributing the vaccine to hundreds of millions of Americans, as well as the task of persuading people who worry its development was rushed for political reasons to take it.
President Donald Trump frequently has downplayed the severity of the pandemic and overseen a response health experts say was disorganized, cavalier and sometimes ignored the science behind disease transmission.
Efforts to limit the economic fallout on Americans from the pandemic were boosted on Sunday when congressional leaders agreed on a $900 billion package to provide the first new aid in months, with votes likely on Monday.
Biden on Monday named additional members to his National Economic Council (NEC), rounding out his economic policymaking team with people his transition office said would help lift Americans out of the economic crisis.
David Kamin, an official in former President Barack Obama's White House, will be NEC deputy director, and Bharat Ramamurti, a former top economic adviser to Senator Elizabeth Warren's 2020 presidential campaign, will serve as NEC deputy director for Financial Reform and Consumer Protection, Biden's team said in a statement.
Joelle Gamble will be special assistant to the president for economic policy.
"This is no time to build back the way things were before — this is the moment to build a new American economy that works for all," Biden said in the statement.
Biden had already named Brian Deese, who helped lead Obama's efforts to bail out the automotive industry and negotiate the Paris climate agreement, to lead the council, which coordinates the country's economic policymaking.
Harris was due to travel on Monday to Columbus, Georgia, to campaign on behalf of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democratic Senate candidates locked with incumbent Republicans in tight Jan. 5 runoff elections that will determine which party controls the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress.
Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and White House adviser, was also set to campaign in the state for Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
The outgoing president, making unsubstantiated claims of widespread electoral fraud, has focused on trying to overturn his election loss in recent weeks, even as daily COVID-19 deaths soared.
On Sunday, Trump's campaign said it had filed a petition again asking the U.S. Supreme Court to upend the election results by overturning Pennsylvania court rulings involving mail ballots. Some members of Congress dismissed the challenge.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Steve Orlofsky)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.