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Several hundred White House officials have been vaccinated for Covid-19

Several hundred White House employees had been vaccinated for Covid-19 as of Tuesday, two Biden administration officials told CNN, with more expected in the coming weeks.

Most officials who have received vaccinations work for the Executive Office of the President, meaning they operate inside the White House complex, either in the West Wing or Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door. Dozens of staffers are still working remotely but the White House is prioritizing vaccinations for people who work on site and aims to eventually vaccinate all in-person staff, an official told CNN.

Even with the vaccinations, White House officials are still wearing masks when on the grounds and many are working from home or participating in virtual meetings from their offices.

The staffers, including those who have been working remotely, came to the Eisenhower building on Tuesday for their first vaccinations.

White House spokesperson Kevin Munoz told CNN that the latest round of vaccinations came after about three dozen members of the senior staff, national security team and incoming Cabinet nominees received their first doses in early January.

He said the White House medical team was “working toward vaccinating all in-person staff over the next few week to ensure a COVID-safe working environment around the President and key leaders who have national security and continuity of government responsibilities.”

The Biden administration’s vaccination effort marks another clear break from former President Donald Trump’s approach to White House coronavirus safety.

Trump and other White House staff had regularly flouted US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for safety during the pandemic such as wearing face masks and social distancing.

And Trump said last month that he had asked White House staffers to get the vaccine “somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary,” after it surfaced that high-ranking administration officials were set to receive some of the first doses in the US in the US.

But in Biden’s nascent administration, many White House staffers are working from home, and will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a news briefing last week that all staff entering the complex will be required to undergo a Covid test, wear an N95 mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Acrylic glass barriers were also mounted on desks in the West Wing, something Trump officials had resisted.

“The President has asked us to also be models to the American people, and that’s vitally important to us as well,” she said.

While many of the West Wing’s offices have been assigned, the building will not be at capacity, as it was for much of last year despite the pandemic. The few places that did implement some work-from-home requirements under Trump, such as the National Security Council, will continue having officials work remotely.

This story has been updated with additional information Tuesday.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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