Biden receives Covid-19 booster shot on live television

US president urges those among eligible group to receive third Pfizer dose

President Joe Biden receives a Covid-19 booster shot during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus. AP
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US President Joe Biden rolled up his sleeve and received his Covid booster shot on live television on Monday afternoon.

Delivering remarks before getting his third dose, Mr Biden encouraged those eligible to receive a booster shot to get one.

"The bottom line is that if you're fully vaccinated, you're highly protected now from severe illness, even if you get Covid-19," Mr Biden said.

Still, Mr Biden once again addressed the underlying need for more Americans to get vaccinated. Roughly 23 per cent of Americans have not gotten a single shot, he said.

"A distinct minority have caused an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country," Mr Biden said.

He also reminded the nation that the shot is free.

Last week, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices unanimously voted to recommend Pfizer's booster shot for those 65 and older, to be given at least six months after initial vaccination.

Mr Biden, 78, has repeatedly committed to receiving a booster shot once eligible. He also said first lady Jill Biden will receive a booster, but no date for that has been announced.

The FDA has not yet considered Moderna's application for boosters and Johnson & Johnson has not yet applied for one.

“It’s hard to acknowledge I’m over 65, but I’ll be getting my booster shot,” Mr Biden said in remarks last week after Pfizer's Covid-19 boosters were granted authorisation.

The president received his first shot in December and his second in January, putting him well past the six-month threshold for receiving a third shot. As he rolled up his sleeve for his third shot, he told reporters he hadn’t experienced any side effects from the previous injections.

The CDC's advisory panel also voted to endorse giving the booster to those between the ages of 50 and 64 who have underlying medical conditions and for people with “individual benefit and risk” between 18 and 49 years old with underlying medical conditions.

CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky broadened eligibility to include people between the ages of 18 and 64 who work in places with a high chance of contracting Covid-19.

Mr Biden said that 60 million people who received the Pfizer vaccine would soon be eligible for boosters, though only 20 million are currently eligible after passing the six-month mark since they received their second shot.

The Biden administration has pushed for people to receive a third dose since August, well before boosters were authorised by the FDA or CDC, as part of an effort to push back against the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Mr Biden last week asked those who are not yet eligible to wait their turn.

“In the near term, we’re probably going to open this up anyway,” he said last week. Everyone “basically across the board” will eventually be able to receive another shot.

Updated: September 27, 2021, 5:56 PM