President Biden received his COVID-19 booster shot on camera Monday afternoon, a few days after the head of the federal agency responsible for determining eligibility expanded booster access for several groups based on age, health and occupation.
Biden, 78, had received his first two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in January, ahead of his inauguration. The booster he received was also a Pfizer shot.
On Friday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky broke from peer recommendations and announced that several groups, including those over 65 years of age, adults with certain preexisting health conditions and those at increased risk due to their living and work conditions, had emergency authorization to receive a booster shot.
Walensky said she made the decision in part to protect frontline workers disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
“Withholding access for boosters from these people and communities would only worsen the inequities that I have committed to fight against,” she said Friday, later adding that the decision was “a scientific close call.”
“In that situation, it was my call to make,” she said.
Biden told the press that his wife, Jill, will also receive her booster shot. Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as her husband, Doug Emhoff, received the Moderna vaccine and are not yet eligible for a booster.
“I know it doesn't look like it, but I am over 65 — way over,” the president joked. “And that’s why I am getting my booster shot today.”
While Biden pushed for all who are eligible to receive a “safe and effective” booster shot, he repeated his refrain that “this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” stressing once more that the country will not be able to move past the pandemic unless more Americans receive the vaccine.
“Boosters are important, but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated,” Biden said.
He announced that he’d be traveling to Chicago later this week to encourage private businesses to get workers vaccinated. His public booster vaccination comes among many attempts from the White House to ratchet up COVID mitigation efforts.
In the past few months, Biden mandated vaccinations for all federal workers and many contractors, reinstated mask wearing on White House grounds and threatened to withhold federal funding from nursing homes that did not require employees to be vaccinated.
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