Nov 3, 2021
Joe Biden Speech on COVID-19 Vaccines for Children 5 and Older Transcript
President Joe Biden gave a speech endorsing the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 years old and older. He also addressed Democratic losses in the Virginia state election. Read the transcript of his remarks here.
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President Joe Biden: (00:00)
Get my mask here. Today’s a great day for American parents, and American families, and American children. We’ve taken a giant step forward to further accelerate our path out of this pandemic. After months of rigorous and independent scientific review, the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, authorized, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, recommended a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five-
President Joe Biden: (00:42)
… Protect them from this horrible virus, because I would always worry that was what’s coming long. 28 million more young Americans are now eligible for the protection of a vaccine; and my administration is ready. We’re ready from day one, today, organized and have a plan for this vaccination’s launch.
President Joe Biden: (01:01)
As soon as next week, we’ll have enough vaccine and enough places, and parents will be able to schedule appointments to get their kids their first shot. And we’ve already secured enough vaccine supply for every single child in America, ages five through 11. And weeks ago, we asked states and pharmacies to put together their detailed plan to start placing their orders for these specially formulated vaccines for young children.
President Joe Biden: (01:28)
We started packing and shipping these orders last week as soon as the FDA authorized the vaccine. We’ve already sent millions of doses, excuse me, millions of doses, and millions more to come by next week. These doses will be available at approximately… Excuse me. I beg your pardon. I swallowed wrong… Will be available at approximately 20,000 locations around the country.
President Joe Biden: (02:00)
These include places that parents know and trust; their local pharmacies, their pediatricians, family doctors, and children’s hospitals. Many of the vaccine sites will offer times on nights and weekends, so parents can take their children to get vaccinated after work and after school. We’ve also been working with governors, mayors, and local school leaders to bring vaccines to schools. As of today, more than 6,000 school clinics have already been planned in school districts around the country. These efforts will also ensure equity.
President Joe Biden: (02:34)
That is a center of our children’s vaccination program as it has been the vaccination program for adults. We’re making vaccines available at hundreds of community health centers, rural health clinics, and thousands of pharmacies in schools in our hardest hit communities. And we’re sending out mobile units to reach where the people are.
President Joe Biden: (02:56)
The bottom line is, we’ve been planning and preparing for months to vaccinate our children. Our program will be ramping up this week and more doses shipped out each day so that we are fully up and running by next week. Now, I know many parents have been anxiously waiting for this day, but I also know that some families might have questions.
President Joe Biden: (03:20)
So trusted messengers, like your pediatricians, family doctors, will be able to answer your questions, talk to parents about the importance of getting their kids vaccinated and put your mind at ease. We will also be raising awareness and encourage parents to get their children vaccinated from our level. That’s what we’ve been doing since day one of my administration, and we’re going to do everything we can to make these vaccines easily available and raise awareness of the importance of getting vaccinated.
President Joe Biden: (03:51)
So parents of children, ages five and older, please get them vaccinated. Because here’s the deal, children make up one quarter of the cases in this country. And while rare, children can get very sick from COVID 19, and some can end up, few, end up hospitalized, but they don’t have to. This vaccine is safe and effective. So get your children vaccinated to protect themselves, to protect others, and to stop to spread, and to help us beat this pandemic.
President Joe Biden: (04:22)
Today, I also want to speak to America’s seniors. While everyone is at risk of getting COVID 19, the evidence is overwhelming that older Americans are still by far the most vulnerable to getting the sickest. And boosters add an important layer of protection. Booster shots are free and effective, and every senior should get one, it’s important. Seniors are eligible to get your booster shot six months after you’ve been fully vaccinated.
President Joe Biden: (04:53)
So six months. If you got your second shot before May the first, you are eligible to get the booster right now. And I’ve made it clear, we have ample supply boosters. And thanks to our planning and preparation, our booster program is off to a very strong start. Over 20 million Americans have now received a booster.
President Joe Biden: (05:15)
In fact, in just six weeks, we’ve already gotten boosters to about half the eligible seniors who received the Pfizer vaccine. Nearly half of the eligible seniors in just six weeks. It took nearly 11 weeks to get half of all seniors their first shot for when that program was launched back in December of 2020, just during the prior administration.
President Joe Biden: (05:37)
So this is a strong pace towards seniors, if you’re eligible, get your booster now. I’ll conclude with this, vaccines for children, ages five to 11, and boosters, provide additional protection for seniors and others, are two major steps forward that are going to accelerate our path out of this pandemic.
President Joe Biden: (06:02)
And this brings me to where we are and where we’re going to go from here. Since early September, cases and hospitalizations are down now more than 50%. And over the past two weeks, cases and hospitalizations are falling in approximately 40 states. A year ago, we had no vaccines. Just this week, we hit an important milestone. 80% of adults have at least one shot. That’s four out of every five adults.
President Joe Biden: (06:34)
And for our seniors over 95% have gotten at least one shot. Overall, 193 million Americans are fully vaccinated, up from just 2 million the day I was sworn in. Over 20 million have enhanced protections from boosters. And we’re now down from 100 to about 60 million un-vaccinated Americans, 12 years and older. And I’m proud to say black and brown adults and native Americans have gotten vaccinated at the same rate as white adults. And one more thing, our vaccination program is not only helping us save lives and beat the pandemic.
President Joe Biden: (07:13)
It’s helping our economic recovery and helping us grow. In the three months before I came to office, the economy was stagnant, creating only 60,000 jobs a month. Since I’ve taken office, it’s now averaging 600,000 new jobs every month; that’s the average. And one more thing, vaccinating our children will help us keep our schools open. Keep our kids in the classroom, learning, socializing with their classmates and teachers.
President Joe Biden: (07:43)
I think every reporter in this room who has a child understands the difference a child going to school and having to learn from home. It matters. It matters in terms of their not just physical health and mental health. During this pandemic, we’ve seen just how important being in school is for families and for our country. A year ago, we were headed into a Thanksgiving where public health experts were advising against traveling or gathering with family and friends.
President Joe Biden: (08:13)
Last Thanksgiving, for the first time, just four of us, my wife and I, our daughter, and my son-in-law. Later this month, our tables and our hearts are going to be filled thanks to the vaccines. We’ve made incredible progress over these past nine months, but we have to keep going.
President Joe Biden: (08:30)
The pandemic is not yet behind us, but we’re getting there. So please, please do your part. If you know someone who’s not vaccinated, encourage them to get vaccinated. And folks, folks who haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated. It’s easy. It’s accessible and it’s free. Get vaccinated. You can do this. God bless you all. And I’ll take a few questions. [crosstalk 00:08:57]. I’m start all the way at the end.
Speaker 2: (08:58)
Thank you, Mr. President. Appreciate it.
President Joe Biden: (09:01)
You’re not all the way at the end, but that’s okay. You’re up.
Speaker 2: (09:05)
As leader of the Democratic Party, how much responsibility do you take for the dismal results in Virginia [inaudible 00:09:13] last night?
President Joe Biden: (09:14)
Well, look yesterday reminded me of that one of the sacred rights we have is to be able to go out and cast our votes. And remember that we all have an obligation to accept the legitimacy of these elections. I was talking to Terry to congratulate today. He got 600,000 more votes than any Democrat ever has gotten.
President Joe Biden: (09:34)
We vote out every Democrat about there was more votes that ever has been cast for a democratic incumbent. Not incumbent, a Democrat running for governor. And no governor in Virginia has everyone, when he is of the same, or he or she’s the same party as the sitting president.
President Joe Biden: (09:52)
What I do know is, I do know that people want us to get things done. They want us to get things done. And that’s why I’m continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along and pass my Infrastructure Bill and my Build Back Better Bill. I think if we… Look, think about what we’re talking about here.
President Joe Biden: (10:16)
People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things; from COVID, to school, to jobs, to a whole range of things, and the cost of a gallon of gasoline. And so if I’m able to pass, sign in the law, my Build Back Better initiative, I’m in a position where you’re going to see a lot of those things ameliorated; quickly and swiftly. So this has to be done. [crosstalk 00:10:44].
Speaker 3: (10:43)
Mr. President, given what you said, do you take some responsibility, and do you think that Terry McAuliffe would’ve won if your agenda had passed before election day?
President Joe Biden: (10:55)
Well, I think it should have passed before election day, but I’m not sure that I would be able to have changed the number of very conservative folks who turned out in the red districts who were Trump voters, but maybe, maybe.
Speaker 3: (11:13)
You won the state by 10 points.
President Joe Biden: (11:15)
No, I know we did, but we also, I was running against Donald Trump.
Speaker 4: (11:20)
Thank you, Mr. President. What should Democrats possibly do differently to avoid similar losses in November? Especially as Republicans are now successfully running on culture war issues and false claims about critical race theory.
President Joe Biden: (11:35)
Well, I think we should produce for the American people. Look, one of the things that is important to understand if they pass my legislation, we’re going to be able to reduce the price. People are going to see a reduction in the price of the drugs they have to get because Medicare will be able to negotiate and lower the price of drugs.
President Joe Biden: (11:57)
If they pass my legislation, you’re going to see that nobody, and some of you who have children in daycare, or children in childcare, you’re paying up to $14,000 a year if you live here, you will never have to pay that much money, if you live in Washington or wherever you live. No more than 7% of your income. They’re going to see that they’ll get tax breaks, on genuine tax breaks.
President Joe Biden: (12:21)
If that’s Trump, tell him I’m busy. Bad joke, but anyway. But, the point is that we have to move and make it that what we’ve done is increasing their… Look, people need a little breathing room. They’re overwhelmed. And what happened was I think we have to just produce results for them to change their standard of living, and give them a little more breathing room.
Speaker 4: (12:51)
My question is, what’s your message though, for democratic voters? Especially black voters who see Republicans running on race, education, lying about critical race theory, and they’re worried that Democrats don’t have an effective way to push back on that.
President Joe Biden: (13:08)
Well, I think that the whole answer is just to speak the truth, lay out where we are. Look, I’m convinced that if you look at everything from my view on criminal justice system, to my view on equal opportunity, to my view on economic issues, and all the things I have and what I’ve been pushing in legislation, each of the elements are overwhelmingly popular. We have to speak to them though.
President Joe Biden: (13:39)
We have to speak to them and explain them. Look, I just think people are at a point, and it’s understandable, where there’s a whole lot of confusion. Everything from, are you ever going to get COVID under control? To, are my kids going to be in school? Are they going to be able to stay in school? To, whether or not I’m going to get a tax break that allows me to be able to pay for the needs of my kids and my family. And they’re all things that I’m running on, will run on. And I think we’ll do fine.
Speaker 5: (14:21)
Mr. President [crosstalk 00:14:22].
President Joe Biden: (14:21)
This ought be good.
Speaker 5: (14:22)
I think so too. About the way forward, Mr. President, as you were leaving for your overseas trip, there were reports that were surfacing that your administration is planning to pay illegal immigrants who were separated from their families at the border up to $450,000 each, possibly a million dollars per family. Do you think that that might incentivize more people to come over illegally?
President Joe Biden: (14:47)
If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah. But it’s not true.
Speaker 5: (14:52)
So this is a garbage report.
President Joe Biden: (14:53)
Speaker 5: (14:54)
President Joe Biden: (14:55)
$450,000 per person. Is that what you’re saying?
Speaker 5: (14:58)
That was separated from a family member at the border under the last administration.
President Joe Biden: (15:04)
That’s not going to happen.
Speaker 5: (15:05)
Okay. And then just to follow up, because you mentioned Trump a couple times. When you went to try to help Terry McAuliffe, and a couple weeks ago, before you left, you mentioned Trump 24 times. Do you still think that voters really want to hear you talking about Trump more than the issues affecting them every day?
President Joe Biden: (15:22)
Well, the reason I mention Trump, I didn’t count the times, is because the issues he supports are affecting their lives every day. And there a negative impact on their lives in my view. Thank you all very much.