Media Advisory

Monday, December 21, 2020

NIH holds COVID-19 vaccine kick-off event

NIH Clinical Center front-line workers, Azar, Collins, Fauci to receive doses from agency’s initial stock.


The National Institutes of Health will hold a livestreamed COVID-19 vaccination event to kick-off NIH’s vaccination efforts for its employees on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. Six healthcare workers from the NIH Clinical Center will receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, kicking off a live event during which U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and NIH Office of Research Services Director Colleen A. McGowan will give brief remarks and also be vaccinated.

Following the event, additional healthcare workers from the NIH Clinical Center will receive the vaccine from the agency’s first shipment of 100 doses. NIH expects a sizeable shipment from the State of Maryland next week for its tier 1 front line healthcare workers.

This event marks a momentous scientific achievement and demonstrates the confidence HHS and NIH leadership have in vaccines being developed by the U.S. government with funding support through Operation Warp Speed and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). This unprecedented scientific achievement comes less than a year following the identification of the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Together with partners, researchers at NIH's Vaccine Research Center successfully designed, created and tested the vaccine candidate, which has been shown to be more than 94% efficacious in large-scale clinical trials.

The vaccine was co-developed by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., and NIAID, part of NIH. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.


Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020
10 a.m. EST
NIH Clinical Center Masur Auditorium, Bethesda, Maryland


  • HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II
  • NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
  • NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
  • NIH Office of Research Services Director Colleen A. McGowan
  • Six NIH Clinical Center healthcare workers


CNN will provide the pool camera and there also will be a pool camera for still photography. Please contact NIH for more information. Interested media can follow the remarks and vaccinations via livestream through HHS Live, NIH videocast, the NIH Facebook page, and the NIH Twitter account.

About HHS, ASPR, and BARDA: HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. The mission of ASPR is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. Within ASPR, BARDA invests in the innovation, advanced research and development, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products needed to combat health security threats. To date, BARDA-supported products have achieved 55 FDA approvals, licensures or clearances. To learn more about federal support for the nationwide COVID-19 response, visit

About Operation Warp Speed: OWS is a partnership among components of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, engaging with private firms and other federal agencies, and coordinating among existing HHS-wide efforts to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.                                     

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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