President Joe Biden received his COVID-19 booster shot Monday, days after federal regulators recommended a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans age 65 or older and approved them for others with preexisting medical conditions or high-risk work environments.
President Biden, 78, got his first shot Dec. 21 and his second dose three weeks later, along with his wife, Jill Biden. The president said the first lady, who's 70, would also receive the booster dose, but she was teaching Monday at Northern Virginia Community College, where she's an English professor.
President Biden emerged as a champion of booster doses in the summer, as the U.S. experienced a sharp rise in coronavirus cases from the more transmissible Delta variant.
While the vast majority of cases continue to occur among unvaccinated people, regulators pointed to evidence from Israel and early studies in the U.S. showing that protection against so-called breakthrough cases was vastly improved by a third dose of the Pfizer shot.
But the aggressive American push for boosters, before many poorer nations have been able to provide even a modicum of protection for their most vulnerable populations, has drawn the ire of the World Health Organization and some aid groups, which have called on the U.S. to pause third shots to free up supply for the global vaccination effort.
At least 2.66 million Americans have received booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine since mid-August, according to the CDC. About 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 through the Pfizer shot. U.S. regulators recommend getting the boosters at least six months after the second shot of the initial two-dose series.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.