Joe Biden received a second booster vaccination against Covid on Wednesday and pleaded with Congress to approve more funding to fight any new wave of the virus, while asserting that although the pandemic is not over: “Covid-19 no longer controls our lives.”
Speaking at the White House, the US president launched a new government website that he called a “one-stop shop” for accurate coronavirus information, covid.gov.
And he told the public: “We’re now at a new moment in this pandemic. It does not mean that Covid-19 is over. It means that Covid-19 no longer controls our lives.”
“The bottom line, no longer will Americans have to scour the internet to find vaccines, treatments, tests or masks,” he added.
Then Biden swiftly turned his remarks towards asking Congress for more money to continue the effort to halt the coronavirus pandemic.
“Just as we’ve reached a critical turning point in this fight, Congress has to provide the funding America needs to continue to fight Covid-19,” he said.
“This isn’t partisan, it’s medicine,” he added, warning that without the $22.5bn his administration is asking for, monoclonal antibody therapies to treat Covid will begin to run out by the end of May and preventive therapies for the immunocompromised will be exhausted by the fall.
As for vaccines, he said: “If Congress fails to act we won’t have the supply we need this fall to ensure the shots are available free and easily accessible for all Americans.”
Calling on politicians to act in unity, Biden talked up his record after taking over the presidency with Covid-19 omnipresent.
“I’m gonna remind you, I took office about 14 months ago, the pandemic was raging, the economy was reeling, the deficit was soaring. Most schools were closed,” he said.
“We didn’t have enough vaccines. The unemployment claims were sky high. And then we got to work and we delivered enough vaccines for every American months ahead of schedule, effective treatments, at-home tests that are free and accessible. Over 99% of our schools are open again.”
The Biden administration’s response to the pandemic, however, stalled in several key areas, particularly after the spread of the Omicron variant in late 2021.
He concluded the event by taking a second booster shot – authorized for Americans over 50 on Tuesday – live on TV and refusing to answer the questions he was being peppered with as he rolled up his sleeve and was injected about his telephone call that morning with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“It didn’t hurt a bit,” Biden said of the shot, apologizing if the sight of a needle going into his arm had “discouraged” anybody from taking the vaccine.