US Vice President Mike Pence receives Covid-19 vaccine live on television

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

America's Vice President Mike Pence has become the highest profile leader worldwide to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

The outgoing Republican VP was vaccinated on live television in a bid to reassure Americans the Pfizer/BioNTech jab is safe for use.

The Trump administration has been criticised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while President Donald Trump has repeatedly made false claims about the origins of the virus and treatments for it.

Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both contracted Covid earlier in the year. Credit: AP

Speaking after his jab, Vice President Pence called the speed with which the vaccine was developed “a medical miracle.”

“The American people can be confident: we have one and perhaps within hours two safe vaccines,” VP Pence said - referring to expected approval of the Moderna vaccine in the US.

“Building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning,” he added.

Vice President Pence’s wife Karen and Surgeon General Jerome Adams also received the vaccination during the televised White House event.

Karen Pence, centre, Vice President Mike Pence (left) and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams (right) receive their jabs. Credit: AP

The Trump administration's "Operation Warp Speed" has helped deliver the vaccine rollout after it was approved last week.

But five days into the programme, President Trump has held no public events to trumpet the rollout.

The President is yet to receive the jab himself, despite having contracted the virus and been hospitalised with symptoms earlier this year.

Donald Trump has tweeted only twice about the vaccine.

(Carolyn Kaster/AP) Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP

The President's relative silence comes as he continues to stew about election defeat to Joe Biden.

President Trump has tried to minimise any credit that might go to his successor, President-elect Joe Biden.

The Biden administration will preside over the bulk of the nationwide injection campaign next year, with Joe Biden expected to receive his vaccination as soon as next week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both said Thursday that they will get vaccinated in the next few days.