WASHINGTON, DC -- President Joe Biden received his Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 booster shot on Monday at the White House during an on-camera event. He's also scheduled to make remarks ahead of receiving his booster shot.
The 78-year-old Biden's booster was administered on the first workday after federal agencies recommended a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans 65 and older and approved them for others with preexisting medical conditions and high-risk work environments.
Biden says boosters are important but the key to ending the pandemic is for vaccines to reach more people.
"We know that to beat this pandemic and to save lives ... we need to get folks vaccinated," Biden said during remarks ahead of his shot. "So, please, please do the right thing. Please get these shots. It can save your life and it can save the lives of those around you."
Ahead of his inauguration in January, the President received his first two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky diverged from the agency's independent vaccine advisers last week to recommend boosters for a broader group of people -- those ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk of Covid-19 because of their workplaces or institutional settings -- in addition to older adults, long-term care facility residents and some people with underlying health conditions.
The CDC recommendation includes the recommendations made by its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Thursday when it voted to recommend boosters for people age 65 and older and residents of long-term care facilities who received the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine series at least six months ago, and people ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions.
The CDC also endorsed the vaccine advisers' recommendation that people ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster based on their individual benefits and risks.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week gave emergency use authorization for a booster dose of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine in people 65 and older, people at high risk of severe disease and people whose jobs put them at risk of infection.
Biden spoke about the next phase of his administration's plan to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and contain the Delta variant after the CDC issued its booster shot recommendations. He stressed all of the guidance about boosters was left to scientists and doctors to determine and that his administration has always led with the science.
The President urged those eligible to get their booster shots as soon as possible and urged Americans to get their first shots if they have not already done so. Biden said the U.S. already has all of the tools to beat the Covid-19 pandemic.
White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said the U.S. had secured enough supply for every American to receive a Covid-19 booster shot and that up to 20 million Americans had already hit the six-month mark and are therefore already eligible for the shot.
Zients said the Biden administration was prioritizing getting booster shots to the most vulnerable Americans — particularly residents and staff at long-term care facilities — as quickly as possible. Zients said eligible Americans would be able to receive a booster shot at roughly 80,000 locations across the country, including more than 40,000 local pharmacies.
The booster shot rollout also comes as the US is set to significantly increase the number of Covid-19 vaccines it will ship to foreign nations beginning in 2022 in an effort to end the pandemic worldwide. Biden announced last week the U.S. was purchasing an additional 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to donate to low- and lower-middle-income countries around the world. These vaccines bring the United States' total to over 1.1 billion vaccines donated to other countries.