Sept. 24 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Friday said he plans to get a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine one day after public health officials gave the final approval for the booster shot.
After more than a week of debate, presentations and votes by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky gave full approval for certain Americans to receive the third shot. The agency said those over the age of 65, and those over 18 who have underlying medical conditions or are at greater risk of getting COVID-19 because of their jobs can now get the booster.
The CDC previously gave approval for immunocompromised individuals.
Biden falls into the category of those eligible for the booster because of his age -- 78.
"I'll be getting my booster shot," he said during remarks on the pandemic at the White House. "It's hard to acknowledge I'm over 65, but I'll be getting my booster shot."
"I'm not sure exactly when I'm going to do it, as soon as I can get it done."
Biden also encouraged Americans to get their booster shot.
"My message today is this: If you've got the Pfizer vaccine, you got the Pfizer vaccine in January, February or March of this year, and you're over 65 years of age, go get the booster," he said. "Or if you have a medical condition like diabetes, or you're a frontline worker like a healthcare worker or teacher, you can get a free booster now."
Some 60 million Americans fall under the categories approved for the Pfizer vaccine, about 20 million of which are eligible because it's been at least six months since they completed the standard two-dose regimen.
For those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Biden said scientists were evaluating data to determine whether additional shots are needed.
"We'll provide updates for you as the process moves ahead," he said.
The CDC said 212.86 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 64.1% of the population, while 182.96 million, 55.1%, are fully vaccinated.
The United States has had 42.64 million cases of COVID-19, with 682,646 deaths as of Thursday. The country reported a seven-day moving average of 117,000 new cases Thursday, on a downward trajectory from earlier this month, and a seven-day moving average of 1,559 deaths Thursday, a figure that has remained roughly stable for about two weeks.