President Biden will get a COVID-19 booster shot in public once federal regulators complete an effort to offer extra doses to seniors and at-risk persons, the White House said Monday.
“He will do so, and he will do so on camera,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
While it is not a done deal, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration late last week set the table for approval of third doses for persons 65 and older. Mr. Biden is 78.
Mr. Biden pushed regulators to approve a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for all persons who received their second doses at least eight months ago. He’s worried about signs and data from other countries that immunity wanes over time.
FDA advisers pumped the brakes on that idea Friday, saying there was insufficient data to support boosters for the general population and the initial round of shots remain protective against severe disease for those who contract COVID-19. They said boosters should be limited to older persons and people in jobs that expose them to the virus.
The FDA must sign off on the recommendation and a separate panel of advisers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will discuss this week who, exactly, should get boosters.
“There are still a couple of steps in the process,” Ms. Psaki said.
Ms. Psaki defended the administration’s decision to support boosters-for-everyone ahead of regulatory review, saying Mr. Biden always planned to defer to scientists. She said the decision to limit boosters to subgroups is the opening chapter in a longer effort.
“This is an ongoing process, this is not a decision that there will never be boosters for others. This is the first step in a process, a positive one in our view about protecting more people,” she said.
Ms. Psaki said the federal government will be ready to carry out the booster plan once it gets the go-ahead.
“That includes having the president get his booster shot,” she said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is 80, told CNN over the weekend that he will get a booster shot once it is approved.