On Wednesday, President Joe Biden had his second COVID-19 booster shot, a day after the Food and Drug Administration approved the additional dose for Americans aged 50 and up. Before getting the shot in front of reporters at the White House, Biden pushed Congress to approve further financing for his administration’s COVID-19 response program, which provides free vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments to Americans but has run out of funds due to a lack of agreement among lawmakers.
“This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s a medical issue,” Biden stated. “We can’t give up now that Americans are back to living their lives. Please, Congress, take action. You must act right away.” The program’s funding was originally included in a bigger government spending measure signed into law by Biden earlier this month, but Democrats and Republicans were split on the planned $15 billion for booster doses, new vaccinations, and antiviral tablets. Republicans objected, claiming that they needed more information on how the prior funding was spent, which health officials dismissed, claiming that they had already supplied that information.
The funding was removed from the law, and Democrats stated that they would seek to create a separate bill for COVID-19 financing, but this has yet to happen, and uninsured Americans are no longer eligible for reimbursement for testing and treatments as of last week. Without the funds, Biden stated that the United States may be unprepared for any future COVID-19 variations.
“Worse, if we require a new vaccination in the future to tackle a new strain, we won’t be able to afford it. That is something we cannot allow to happen “he stated Biden, who received a second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, also pushed the White House’s new website, covid.gov, which now lists where Americans can get testing, treatments, vaccines, and masks all in one place.
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If it has been at least four months since their last booster dose, Americans over 50, including Biden, and those 18 and older who are immunocompromised, are eligible. With data suggesting that the vaccine’s protection against infection begins to decrease after three months, and as the omicron subvariant BA.2 spreads in the United States, the Biden administration pushed the FDA to make this recommendation.