Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
The 78-year-old president received a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine on camera on Monday — exactly one week after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters he would be getting the booster.
Ahead of getting his third dose of the vaccine, the president explained why he was eligible and joked, "I know it doesn't look like it, but I am over 65."
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voted on Sept. 7 to recommend boosters to older Americans, those at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and others — such as teachers and healthcare workers — who could have increased exposure at work.
Biden reiterated the information provided by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on who should get the Pfizer booster shot and told reporters that "others will come later maybe, I assume," referring to the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines that have yet to get FDA approval.
Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock Joe Biden
The president went on to encourage boosters for those who are fully vaccinated although, he added, "The bottom line is that if you're fully vaccinated you're highly protected now from severe illness, even if you get COVID-19."
"But let me be clear: Boosters are important, but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated," he stressed.
The president noted that 77 percent of Americans have received at least one shot, while just 23 percent have not received one.
"That distinct minority is causing an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country," he said. "This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. That's why I'm moving forward with vaccination requirements wherever I can."
Biden later added, "Please do the right thing. Please get the shot. It can save your life. It can save the lives of those around you. And it's easy, accessible, and it's free."
On Monday, he told reporters he didn't have many side effects after either the first or second doses of the vaccine.
Biden received his first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech novel coronavirus vaccine in December at Delaware's ChristianaCare Hospital. His second shot was administered there three weeks later. Both shots were televised.
The president's vaccine booster shot was administered by a nurse with the White House Medical Unit, a White House official revealed. Biden also shared that he expects First Lady Jill Biden to get the booster shot.
Ken Cedeno/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Joe Biden
When questioned about criticism from the World Health Organization about the U.S. authorizing boosters while poor countries are still trying to get vaccines for their populations, Biden defended his administration's work to help poor countries get the vaccine.
"We are doing more than any other nation in the world combined," Biden said.
In August, the Biden administration announced that vaccinated Americans should get a COVID-19 booster shot eight months after being fully inoculated.
"The available data makes it very clear that protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decrease over time following the initial doses of vaccination, and in association with the dominance of the delta variant, we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease," the CDC said in a statement at the time.
The FDA is expected to decide about more widespread booster shots soon.
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