President BidenJoe BidenJill Biden campaigns for McAuliffe in Virginia Fill the Eastern District of Virginia Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted MORE on Friday urged older Americans, front-line workers and those with underlying health conditions who received a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine between January and March to get a booster shot.
"This week, as planned, we took a key step in protecting the vaccinated with booster shots, which our top government doctors believe provides the highest level of protection available to date," Biden said. "The booster shot is free and easily accessible."
Biden said up to 60 million Americans will soon be eligible, and 20 million Americans are eligible today.
Doses will be available nationwide at more than 80,000 locations, including more than 40,000 pharmacies, he said.
Biden's speech comes after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFauci says trick-or-treating this Halloween ok Overnight Health Care — Presented by EMAA — Pfizer requests FDA authorize COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds CDC director urging flu shots ahead of potentially 'severe' season MORE diverged from the agency's independent vaccine advisory panel to recommend boosters for groups that included people at risk because of their jobs.
The CDC's guidance aligns with what the Food and Drug Administration authorized Wednesday. It avoids what was previously conflicting guidance and encompasses a wider population than what the agency's vaccine advisory panel recommended earlier Thursday.
While acknowledging most Americans who received a Pfizer shot are eligible for a booster, Biden urged people who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be patient.
"My message for you is this: You still have a high degree of protection. Our doctors and scientists are working day and night analyzing the data from those two organizations on whether and when you need a booster shot, and we'll provide updates for you as the process moves ahead," Biden said.
He indicated that it won't be long before boosters are available for all Americans, and if you're not eligible yet, it's OK to wait.
"We're also looking to the time when we're going to be able to expand the booster shots basically across the board. So I would just say it'd be better to wait your turn in line ... to get there," Biden said.
Biden again took aim at the quarter of Americans who have refused to get vaccinated, despite all the evidence of the shot's safety and effectiveness.
"The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing," Biden said. "In a country as large as ours, that 25 percent minority can cause an awful lot of damage, and they are causing a lot of damage," Biden said.