President Biden received a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, a booster shot, on Monday. The White House hopes that the publicly broadcasted event will help assure Americans of the vaccine's safety and effectiveness amid continued hesitancy among many Americans.
"Like I did in my first and second COVID-19 vaccination shot, I'm about to get my booster shot and do it publicly," he said.
"That's because the Food and Drug Administration — the FDA — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC — looked at all the data, completed their review and determined that boosters for the Pfizer vaccine, others will come later, maybe, I assume, but the Pfizer vaccine, are safe and effective."
The CDC and the FDA last week paved the way for Pfizer booster shots for about 60 million people ages 65 and up, adults with underlying health conditions like diabetes and people at increased risk because of their jobs. The third shot can be given six months after the second shot.
"I know it doesn't look like it, but I am over 65," the president, who's 78, joked. "Way over. And that's why I'm getting the booster shot today."
The recommendation was made after data showed immunity from the Pfizer shot begins to wane after six to eight months. It has been controversial, since large swaths of the world have yet to receive a single dose of a COVID vaccine.
The CDC and FDA will consider whether to recommend booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as those companies submit data for approval.
Biden received his first dose on camera on Dec. 21, when he was president-elect, a time when a series of political leaders were doing so to demonstrate the safety of the vaccine. He received his second shot on Jan. 11.
Biden said he had not experienced any negative side effects from either dose of the vaccine and that first lady Jill Biden, who is 70, would also be getting a booster shot.
"Please, please do the right thing. Please get the shot," Biden said on Monday. "It can save your life. It can save the lives of those around you. And it's easy, accessible, and it's free," he said, calling the current phase of the pandemic, "a pandemic of the unvaccinated."