President Joe Biden received a coronavirus booster shot on live television Monday while urging those not yet vaccinated to “please get the shots. It could save your life.”
Biden received his third dose of the Pfizer vaccine just days after the drugmaker won Food and Drug Administration approval for boosters for those aged 65 or older, people who have underlying health conditions, or those at increased risk of COVID-19 due to a work environment.
“I know it doesn’t look like it, but I am over 65,” Biden, who’s 78, joked just before receiving the shot in his left arm.
The president received his first vaccine shot on Dec. 21 and his second one on Jan. 11. First lady Jill Biden received her second shot at the same time, but didn’t attend Monday’s televised event. Vice President Kamala Harris, 56, received the Moderna vaccine, which has not yet won FDA approval for booster shots.
Biden, when asked by a reporter about his wife’s absence, said the first lady planned to get a booster shot, but was busy teaching during Monday’s event.
Data released by Pfizer last week shows its two-dose vaccine regimen remains highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19, with protection against symptomatic cases falling from 96% to 84% after six months. A booster shot restores the vaccine’s effectiveness to about 95%, the drugmaker said.
Roughly 75% of the U.S. population aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine as of Sunday, and nearly 65% have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pfizer announced last week that clinical trials have found that its vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11, and said it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group by the end of the month. U.S. regulators haven’t yet approved any vaccines for children younger than 12.