WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot Monday live on camera.
"Boosters are important," Biden said during a news conference ahead of rolling up his sleeve. "The most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated."
"This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated," he added.
Biden said he will also travel to Chicago on Wednesday to highlight the importance of businesses issuing their own vaccine requirements.
"Please do the right thing. Please get the shots. It can save your life," he continued.
Biden, who got his first shot on Dec. 21 and his second dose on Jan. 11. At 78, he qualified to receive the booster shot following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for those 65 and older.
Biden said he didn’t have any side effects from the shots.
Biden received his first two doses with his wife, Jill Biden. Biden said his wife will also receive a booster.
Last week, the president praised U.S. health officials’ approval of the Pfizer booster, which was also cleared for adults with underlying health conditions and people at increased risk of being exposed because of their jobs.
Biden told reporters on Friday, "I’ll be getting my booster shot. It’s hard to acknowledge I’m over 65, but I’ll be getting my booster shot."
The U.S. approval of Pfizer’s booster shot last week for certain Americans marked a dramatic scaling back of the Biden administration’s original plan announced last month to dispense boosters to nearly everyone to shore up their protection against the fast-spreading delta variant.
FILE - US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the COVID-19 response and the vaccination program at the White House on Aug. 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
A CDC advisory panel stressed last week that its recommendations will be changed if new evidence shows more people need a booster.
About 26 million Americans got their last Pfizer dose at least six months ago, about half of whom are 65 or older. It wasn’t immediately clear how many more would meet the CDC's booster qualifications.
CDC data show the vaccines still offer strong protection against serious illness for all ages, but there is a slight drop among the oldest adults. And immunity against milder infection appears to be waning months after people's initial immunization.
For most people, if you’re not in a group recommended for a booster, "it’s really because we think you’re well-protected," said Dr. Matthew Daley of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, a member of the CDC’s advisory panel, said last week.
Vice President Kamala Harris, 56, received the Moderna vaccine, for which federal regulators have not yet authorized boosters — but they are expected to in the coming weeks.
Data on Johnson & Johnson's boosters are also under review.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.