President Biden received his booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday while touting the third doses as “safe and effective.”
Biden got the shot on camera at the White House in a bid to boost confidence and encourage others to get the shots.
“I know it doesn’t look like it but I am over 65, way over, and that’s why I’m getting my booster shot today,” Biden said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week gave the green light for Pfizer booster shots for people 65 and over, as well as adults who have underlying medical conditions or are at higher risk of contracting the virus on the job.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky broke from the agency’s advisory panel on giving the green light for those at risk from their jobs, adding to a debate that has drawn some concern for having confusing messages.
Even as he encouraged people to get booster shots, if they received Pfizer initially and are at least six months past their second shot, Biden again put the focus on people who have not received any shots at all.
Experts agree that the most important thing is to reach more of the completely unvaccinated, in order to best fight the pandemic.
“Boosters are important but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated,” Biden said.
About 23 percent of adults have still not received any shot, according to the CDC. “That distinct minority is causing an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country,” Biden said, pointing to vaccine requirements as part of the way forward.
The president answered questions from the press as the shot was being given, including on the World Health Organization’s call for wealthy countries like the U.S. to delay giving booster shots until more people around the world receive their first shots.
The White House argues it can help the world while giving boosters domestically at the same time. Biden noted that the U.S. has so far donated more doses than every other country in the world combined.
The president has faced pressure to take steps beyond donating doses, like pressing vaccine makers to share their know-how with other countries.
While booster shots have only been authorized for the Pfizer vaccine, Biden said he believed additional shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients would come eventually.
The White House took some criticism from some experts who thought they were getting ahead of the process from health officials by announcing plans for booster shots last month.
Biden added on Monday that he was not completely sure about the path forward from health officials on the other vaccines.
“Others will come later, maybe, I assume,” he said.