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President Biden Urges COVID-19 Vaccination during White House Remarks

September 24, 2021

President Joe Biden addressed the nation Friday to outline the next steps in the nation’s COVID-19 response, urging Americans to get vaccinated while providing an update about the nation’s plan for booster doses.

During his address, President Biden said the nation “had to finish the job together” to end the pandemic, highlighting the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines to limit the spread of the virus as the Delta variant continues to pose challenges.  

“The bottom line is: if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re highly protected from severe illness, even if you get COVID-19,” President Biden said.

Among the key points from the speech:

  • Booster doses:  About 60 million Americans will be eligible to receive Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster doses after approvals this week from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The approvals only apply to the Pfizer vaccine. The booster doses will be free and accessible
  • The other brands:  Evaluation of booster doses for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines will occur during the coming months, and the nation’s regulatory agencies will review the available data before making a decision 
  • Vaccinating the unvaccinated:  More than 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated, despite the widespread availability in 80,00 locations across the country

Across the nation, 76.8 percent of Americans 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 66.3 percent are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

“The refusal to get vaccinated has cost all of us,” President Biden said.

The address comes after the nation’s public health agencies approved recommendations and guidance for booster doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. 

Late Thursday evening, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, issued a statement outlining the agency’s rationale for expanded booster doses for older Americans, those in long-term care facilities, people with underlying medical conditions, and adults at high risk for disease from COVID-19 due to their occupations.

“At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health,” Dr. Walensky said. “In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good.”

HAP will continue to monitor COVID-19 public health updates and provide updates to members. A replay of President Biden’s address is available online.