President Joe Biden, 78, received a booster shot against COVID-19 at the White House on Monday afternoon, days after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that seniors who had gotten the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine more than six months ago should get them.
Biden’s booster dose comes after the CDC endorsed Pfizer booster shots for those 65 and over and those in long-term care, as well as for people between 50 and 64 with underlying medical conditions. The CDC’s booster endorsement does not cover those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine regimens.
“I know it doesn’t look like it, but I am over 65 — I wish I — way over, and that’s why I’m getting my booster shot today,” said Biden. “The bottom line is if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re highly protected now from severe illness, even if you get COVID-19. You’re safe, and we’re going to do everything we can to keep it that way with the boosters.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 79, also revealed Monday that he had gotten a COVID-19 booster shot, something he called “an easy decision,” noting that he survived childhood polio before a vaccine for it was available. “All Americans should speak with their doctors and get vaccinated,” he said.
During Biden’s appearance, the president speculated that booster shots for other COVID-19 vaccines, such as the Moderna vaccine, would come at a later time. He said he did not have any side effects following his first and second dose of the shot, which he received back in December and January.
The CDC’s decision comes after Biden publicly speculated that many Americans would have the opportunity to receive COVID-19 boosters beginning the week of September 20, contingent on approval from health regulators and the CDC.
But the White House was later informed there would likely not be enough data to make that determination, in part because of lagging data.
It’s unclear whether Vice President Kamala Harris, 56, will receive a booster shot as well, as she does not qualify for it under the age guidelines. However, the CDC guidelines say that people between the ages of 18 and 64 “who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting” may receive a COVID-19 booster shot “based on their individual benefits and risks.”
Harris, who was vaccinated in December, was forced to change her schedule on Friday after two people who were set to interview her, Ana Navarro and Sunny Hostin of “The View,” tested positive for COVID-19 minutes before Harris was to appear on set. Although both hosts ended up testing negative later, the vice president ended up doing the interview via video call from somewhere else, presumably in the studio.