The wife of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has tested positive for coronavirus, Azar announced to his staff Friday.
Azar has played a major role in President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, particularly in this week’s rollout of the Pfizer vaccine. Azar says both he hand his children received negative test results after his wife, Jennifer, tested positive.
“Today, my family learned that my wife Jennifer has tested positive for Covid-19,” Azar wrote in an email, according to Politico. “I will be carrying out the duties of my office while strictly adhering to CDC guidelines for essential workers, continuing to practice social distancing, wearing a mask and monitoring for any symptoms. In addition, I have been tested every day and will be tested every day until my exposure period has concluded.”
Several prominent members of the coronavirus task force publicly received the Pfizer vaccine in a Friday morning event. The group included Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence. President-elect Joe Biden is also expected to publicly receive the vaccine next week.
“Karen and I were more than happy to step forward before this week was out, to take the safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, that we have secured and produced for the American people,” Pence said in a Friday morning speech. “It’s a truly inspiring day. As the people of this country witnessed this past week, under Operation Warp Speed, the first coronavirus vaccine is literally being administered in states across the country to millions of Americans.”
Pence said a second vaccine, from Moderna, is expected to receive FDA approval by the end of Friday. Trump jumped the gun on Twitter with a statement saying it had already been approved, but FDA spokespeople say some progress remains to be made.
A key FDA panel voted 20-0 on Thursday to grant the Moderna vaccine and emergency use authorization.