Joe Biden urges those now eligible for Pfizer booster shot to get one soon

President Joe Biden has urged Americans who are now eligible for a Covid-19 booster to get the added protection.

His speech today comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine older and vulnerable Americans.

The President said: ‘My message today is this: If you’ve got the Pfizer vaccine, you got the Pfizer vaccine in January, February, March of this year, and you’re over 65 years of age, go get the booster.

‘Or, if you’re in a have a medical condition like diabetes, or you’re a frontline worker like a health care worker or a teacher, you can get a free booster.’

A panel of CDC advisors ruled boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems.

Late Thursday, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky took measures a step further, overruling a recommendation from the panel that refused to endorse booster shots for all frontline workers.

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The panel had voted against allowing people to get a booster if they are aged 18 to 64 and are a health-care worker, teacher or in another job that puts them at an increased risk of being exposed to the virus.

Walensky disagreed with the move, putting the recommendation back in, noting that the suggestion aligns with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) booster authorization decision made earlier this week.

The category she included covers people who live in institutional settings that increase their risk of exposure, such as prisons or homeless shelters, as well as healthcare workers, NPR reported.

People will be able to receive an extra dose once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.

Biden praised the decision this morning in a speech looking to squash any unease about the booster shot.

The President said he too would be receiving his booster soon. He said: ‘It’s hard to acknowledge I’m over 65, but I’ll be getting my booster shot,’ he said. ‘It’s a bear, isn’t it?’

The CDC panel did not judge whether people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines should receive an additional dose, neither of which have been authorized by the FDA.

The advisers also wrestled with the practicalities of endorsing a booster shot for only the Pfizer vaccine when close to half of vaccinated Americans have received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the New York Times reported.

The US has come under fire by some global health experts, who are critical of the Biden administration for pushing booster shots for American citizens when much of the world has yet to receive a first dose.

Earlier this week Biden upped the country’s total donation of Covid vaccines to $1.1billion during a Covid summit where he announced a partnership with the European Union to encourage donations with ‘no political strings attached’.

Taking aim at people’s persistent resistance to the vaccine, he said: ‘It’s caused by the fact that despite Americans having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been available in 80,000 locations, we still have over 70 million Americans who fail to get a single shot.’

‘And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine with false information the fight against Covid-19. This is totally unacceptable.’

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