President Joe Biden has pledged there will be enough COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for every American.
During a press briefing on Thursday, the commander-in-chief said the federal government has bought enough third doses to give one to every vaccinated resident.
The extra doses will be free and will be able to be received at 80,000 locations including pharmacies and doctors’ offices.
However, he said the decision about boosters – including when to authorize and who should receive them – will be left up to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
‘We bought enough boosters, enough boosters shots, and the distribution system is ready to administer them,’ Biden said.
‘My first responsibility as President is to protect the American people and make sure we have enough vaccine for every American – including enough boosters for every American – who is approved to get one.’
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President Joe Biden pledged on Thursday (above) that the federal government has bought enough COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for every American
Biden insisted that decisions on when to approve vaccines and who should receive them will be left up to the FDA and the CDC. Pictured: Nurse Kevin Grellman administers a third booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Jose Gomez, 80, in Pasadena, California, August 2021
In his speech, Biden noted that breakthrough cases, in which a fully vaccinated person contracts the virus, do occur.
But he stressed that they are with only one confirmed positive case per 5,000 fully vaccinated Americans per week.
‘You’re as safe as possible and we’re doing everything we can to keep it that way, keep you safe. That’s where boosters come in,’ Biden said.
The vaccines are especially effective at protecting against severe disease.
More than 99 percent of U.S. Covid hospitalizations and deaths in 2021 have occurred in unvaccinated Americans.
Booster shots will strengthen protection against the coronavirus, Biden said.
‘Three-shot vaccines are common (Hepatitis B, Tetanus) and offer some of the most durable and robust protection,’ the administration explains in a description of the booster shot on the White House website.
Last month, the Biden administration announced initial plans for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots eight months after receiving the final dose.
During a media briefing, officials said adults over age 18 who received the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines could get a third dose starting the week of September 20.
At the time, there were no plans in place for those who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Currently, boosters shots are only approved for immunocompromised Americans aged 12 and older.
However, after this announcement, health officials at the FDA and the CDC voiced the frustration with the administration.
They noted that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna had only just submitted clinical trial data to the FDA and that neither had demonstrated that boosters were needed after eight months.
What’s more, they felt that September 20 was too soon of a deadline to approve boosters for anyone but those with weakened immune systems.
During the press briefing, Biden stressed that all decisions surrounding COVID-19 vaccine boosters will be left up the FDA and CDC.
‘Of course, the decision of which booster shots to give and when to start them and who will give them will be left completely up the scientists tat the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control,’ he said.
A statement on the White House website says the administration is still ready to start administering boosters on September 20 should they receive federal approval.
The Biden administration has also faced criticism from the international public health community for planning to supply boosters to all Americans when many vulnerable people in other countries have not yet had one shot.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday he was ‘appalled’ by booster shot plans.
‘Because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obliged to fulfill bilateral deals with rich countries willing to pay top dollar, low income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people,’ he said at a news conference.
Biden maintains that the U.S. can provide booster shots to Americans while also supplying doses to the rest of the world.
In his speech, he reminded Americans that the U.S. has supplied more doses internationally than any other country thus far.