US President Biden’s remarks on COVID-19 vaccines for children under five
3:55 p.m. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thanks.
As you can see, I didn’t want to leave the clinic. These children were wonderful.
Thank you Arseme [sic] — Arsema, and — for this introduction. And Jill and I were honored to visit your clinic today. We have met your fellow nurses and staff who are involved every day. And we met families with young children. And there were about, I guess, 17, 18 families there who were waiting for their vaccines or had just had their vaccines, and, finally, the COVID-19 vaccinations for children over the age of five. Finally some peace of mind. You know, it’s – or should I say, less than five years. We have had them for over five years. But over five months to – six months to five years.
And a historic step – it’s a very historic step, a monumental step forward. The United States is now the first country in the world to offer safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old. For the first time in our fight against this pandemic, nearly all Americans can now access life-saving vaccines. And we are ready.
My administration, with the help of the CDC, has been planning and preparing for this moment – for this moment for a long time. Since taking office, we have been committed to ensuring that every parent has the opportunity to protect their children from COVID-19. We have secured enough doses and are launching a comprehensive effort with states, local health departments, pediatricians, family physicians, pharmacies, rural health clinics, community health centers and other messengers and trusted partners to spread the word to get – help get arm shots.
Parents will soon be able to start making appointments and sending vaccines to pediatricians’ offices and children’s hospitals.
Our largest pharmacies – partners and – which are Walgreens, CVS and Walmart – are already scheduling appointments for later this week.
And starting today, you can go to Vaccines.gov and find information and appointments near you. More sites will open and more vaccines will be delivered to providers in your area every day.
These vaccines are safe and effective and are approved after extensive scientific review by the Food and Drug Administration – the FDA – and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the CDC.
But I know some parents might have questions. I encourage you to talk to the doctor – after you have made a plan to get your child vaccinated – for your children over the age of five.
For everyone else: take your pictures. Get your reminders.
And let’s be clear: elected officials must not hinder and complicate the task of parents who want to have their children vaccinated, who want to protect them and those around them. Now is not the time to play politics. It’s about allowing parents to do everything they can to keep their children safe.
Together, we have come a long way in our fight against COVID with widely available vaccines, treatments, and other tools.
Over 220 million Americans are fully immunized. Over 100 million Americans are boosted. Daily deaths from COVID-19 are down 90%. And now vaccines are available to almost all Americans. And we will remain vigilant.
We’ll make sure it’s not just a good day, but a good one from now on – proof that there’s nothing beyond our abilities when we work together as the United States. from America.
I want to thank you again, Arsema. And God bless you, our healthcare workers across the country and keep going – who keep stepping up and helping put this pandemic behind us.
And, Doc, did you want to say something? You do not have to.
DR. JHA: I’m glad, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. OK.
DR. JHA: Or just — whatever you want.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
Q Mr President —
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Quick question on the complaint from the CEO of Chevron today. He said that your administration has been widely critical of the oil and gas industry and at times vilified it, and that the administration must change its approach in order to make progress in reducing energy prices and increasing the offer. Do you have a reaction to that, sir?
THE PRESIDENT He’s moderately sensitive. I didn’t know they would be hurt so quickly.
Listen, we need more refining capacity. This idea that they have no oil to drill and pull up just isn’t true. That piece of Republicans talking about “Biden shutting down fields” – wrong. There are 9,000, okay?
So they – we should be able to find a way to increase refining capacity and not give up on the transition to renewables. They are both within the realm of the possible.
Q Mr. President, if you were to decide to opt for a federal gas tax exemption, do you think Congress would support that? And how would you feel about those funds being used for something that’s a big priority for you — repairing roads and infrastructure and all that? Is this job the —
THE PRESIDENT: We have a giant infrastructure bill that we passed – giant – $1.2 – $1.2 trillion.
Q Then you would be – it would be worth it for you to –
THE PRESIDENT: Of course. It’s not like – you know, it’s not like before. Look, this will have some impact, but it won’t impact major road construction and major repairs.
Q It looks like you’ve made a decision?
THE PRESIDENT Well, let me say this: I’m in the process. I will make a decision before the end of the week. But you asked me an explicit question whether or not – how would I feel; will it, in fact, complicate the maintenance of our roads. The answer is: we have ample capacity to do so.
Q Mr. President, are you going to talk to President Xi before making a decision on Chinese tariffs? Do you want to have an engagement with him before you do anything – anything about it?
THE PRESIDENT: I intend to have a conversation with President Xi. We haven’t set a time yet.
Q Mr. President, are there any changes to your planned trip to Israel, given what happened with the parliament?
THE PRESIDENT: No.
Q Thank you. I think you spoke with Larry Summers recently. And he just said that to defeat inflation, you will have to accept higher unemployment. What would be your answer to that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, there are other – there are other economists who don’t think that’s the case. And we are working on all of that.
Q Have you received a briefing on firearms legislation? Senators say they have come to a point of legislative text.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Very briefly — briefly before I walk into the room to make sure I say, Let them announce it, and then I’ll talk about it.
QAre you satisfied?
THE PRESIDENT I’ll let them announce it. And then I’ll talk about it.
Q Mr President, are you an accountant – I know you are looking for more congressional money for this vaccination campaign and for COVID funding in the fall. What is the share of the vaccine supply for these young children? And how many children in the country can you get vaccinated before you need more money from Congress?
THE PRESIDENT Well, we’ll get there at least this year. We need more money. But we don’t just need more money for childhood vaccines after all; we need more money to plan for the second pandemic.
There is going to be another pandemic. We have to think ahead. And that’s not something the latest outfit did very well. It’s something we do quite well. This is why we need money.
Thank you very much to all.
Q Before you travel, sir: Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said there was ‘Ukrainian fatigue’. Some leaders are calling for negotiations with Putin. Are you worried that there is a rift within this alliance that you believe has been united thus far?
THE PRESIDENT No, I’m not afraid. But what I think is that at some point it will be a bit of a waiting game: what the Russians can take and what Europe will be ready to take.
And I think we have to – this is one of the things we’re going to talk about – in Spain.
Thank you very much to all.
Q Thank you, sir.
Q Thank you, Mr President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
4:03 p.m. EDT