President Biden on Friday said he plans to get a booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the third dose for Americans over 65, those with an underlying health condition and frontline workers at higher risk of exposure to coronavirus.
The president, from the White House, said doctors and scientists, after completing their scientific review, have believed booster shots will provide "top-level protection" against COVID-19.
"Those eligible include those 65 years or older, adults 18 or older with underlying health conditions like diabetes and obesity, and those are increased risk of COVID like health care workers, teachers, and grocery store workers," Biden said, noting that eligible group covered approximately 60 million Americans.
Biden said scientists and medical officials recommended the third dose of Pfizer vaccine to those who received their second dose six months ago.
"If you got Pfizer in January, February or March this year and are over 65 or have an underlying health condition or are a frontline worker, you can get a booster now," Biden said.
"I’ll be getting my booster," Biden said, joking that it is "hard to acknowledge I’m over 65."
He added, "All kidding aside, I’ll be getting my booster shot as soon as I can get it done."
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky late Thursday endorsed the Pfizer booster shot for younger at-risk workers, which was seen as a rare break from the agency's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices panel.
The panel had recommended the booster for Americans 65 and older and for those over 50 with underlying medical conditions, but voted against the younger at-risk worker recommendation. Walensky put it back in, noting it aligned with the FDA booster authorization from earlier this week.
"As CDC director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact," Walensky said in a statement. "At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good."
The younger at-risk group included teachers in addition to frontline medical workers.
Biden, earlier this month, signed an executive order requiring all federal workers in the executive branch to be vaccinated, as well as another that mandated all private companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations.
"These requirements will cover 2/3 of all workers in America," Biden said, adding that business leaders have called him and thanked him. "This gives them the ability to move forward."