President and first lady plan to get their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots once they’re eligible, Biden says

President and first lady plan to get their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots once they’re eligible, Biden says
Susan Walsh/AP

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden plan to get Covid-19 vaccine booster shots once they are cleared to take them, the President said in an interview aired Thursday.

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that Americans will be able to get Covid-19 vaccine booster shots starting on September 20, subject to authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration and sign off from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Individuals would become eligible for their booster shot eight months after their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine may need boosters in the future, but more data is needed, health officials said.

The Bidens received their second Pfizer Covid vaccine shots in January, so they would become eligible for the booster shot in September, the President told ABC News.

“We’re gonna get the booster shots,” Biden said. “And– it’s somethin’ that I think– you know, because … we got our shots all the way back in I think, December. So … it’s past time.”

The announcement on Wednesday came after months of public health officials saying that Covid-19 vaccine booster shots were not needed, but could be possible in the future. The Biden administration’s plans to administer booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine are an effort to “stay ahead” of the coronavirus, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said during a virtual White House Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday.

Murthy emphasized that coronavirus vaccines still appear to be effective in protecting against severe Covid-19, hospitalization and death — but data suggest that protection against mild and moderate disease appears to decline over time, and US health officials want to boost protection before that decline in protection against severe disease.

The announcement from the White House’s Covid-19 team led to criticism from the World Health Organization and other groups who argued that the US should not be giving third doses to their own citizens before much of the rest of the world has received their first doses.

Biden rejected that criticism in his interview with ABC News, noting — as his advisers did on Wednesday — that the US will be donating more shots abroad than it is administering at home.

“We’re providing more (Covid vaccine shots) to the rest of the world than all the rest of the world combined,” Biden said. “We got enough for everybody American, plus before … we get to the middle of next year, we’re gonna provide a half a billion shots to the rest of the world. We’re keepin’ our part of the bargain. We’re doin’ more than anybody.”

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