Is anyone a better champion of the importance of vaccines to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic than a nurse? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) doesn’t think so. During a late-December videocast at the NIH Clinical Center, prominent healthcare leaders, including nurses, received the Moderna vaccine to demonstrate that it is safe and effective and to encourage others to get inoculated.

Those vaccinated included:

  • Alex M. Azar, former secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, NIH director
  • Anthony S. Fauci, MD, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director
  • Colleen A. McGowan, director of NIH’s Office of Research
  • Six NIH Clinical Center healthcare workers
  • A number of nurses

Putting nurses front and center in advocacy for vaccination is a testament to how much the public trusts the profession.

“What we’re seeing now is the culmination of years of research, which has led to a phenomenon that was truly unprecedented,” Fauci said. “And that is to go from the realization that we’re dealing with a new pathogen to less than one year later having vaccines. I consider it an honor to be part of this process.” 

In a moment of clarity and transparency, the healthcare workers—physicians, scientists, nurses—received their vaccinations and proclaimed their support for more Americans to do the same when they had the opportunity.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccine on December 18, 2020.