Not enough Americans vaccinated – Biden
US President Joe Biden received his fifth Covid-19 vaccine dose on Tuesday, and urged Americans to do the same. While the president is pushing for a yearly vaccine schedule, less than 10% of the eligible population has gotten the latest omicron-specific shot.
“Get vaccinated,” Biden said at a White House event. “It’s incredibly effective, but the truth is, not enough people are getting it. We’ve got to change that so we all can have a safe and healthy holiday season.”
Biden, who caught a recurring case of Covid-19 earlier this summer despite having received a total of four vaccine doses at the time, then rolled up his sleeve and received his fifth dose – this time of Pfizer’s omicron-specific bivalent booster – on camera.
The president said that the coronavirus vaccine is “just like the flu shot,” and added that “for most Americans, one Covid shot each year will be all that they need.”
However, uptake for the latest round of booster shots has been slow. Fewer than 20 million people have taken the updated formulation, or just 8.5% of the eligible population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Meanwhile, the state of Florida has recommended against mRNA booster shots for children under 18 and males under 39, citing the low risk posed by Covid-19 to children and the elevated risk of cardiac arrest in young vaccinated men. Several European countries have issued similar recommendations in recent months, but the CDC still recommends that children as young as five receive bivalent boosters, and has recommended that Covid-19 vaccines be added to children’s routine immunization schedules.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Biden combined an intense public messaging campaign with legal mandates for federal workers and contractors in a bid to up the US’ vaccination rate. While some municipalities also drafted their own mandates, legal challenges followed. In New York City on Tuesday, the Staten Island Supreme Court ordered the city to lift its mandate and rehire all employees fired for non-compliance with full back pay.
According to World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, nearly a third of the world’s population has yet to receive a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.