President Joe Biden sent a stern warning on Thursday to Americans who are still unwilling to get the coronavirus vaccine, warning of the looming spread of the Omicron variant in the United States.
“For unvaccinated: We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death, if you’re unvaccinated,” Biden said. “For themselves, their family, and the hospital they’ll soon overwhelm.”
Biden raised concern about the Omicron variant of the virus, warning that it would spread quickly around the country in January.
“Omicron is here. It’s gonna start to spread much more rapidly at the beginning of the year, and the only real protection is to get your shot,” he said.
Existing coronavirus vaccines continue showing reduced protection from the Omicron variant, prompting federal health officials to urge more people to get booster shots.
Biden repeated that Americans who were vaccinated and got an additional booster shot would not suffer deadly symptoms from the virus.
“If you’re vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death. Period,” he said.
Biden spoke to the press wearing a mask, after meeting with his coronavirus advisory team at the White House.
He argued that, through vaccine shots, more Americans could keep more schools and businesses open and “protect our economic recovery.”
“I want to see everyone around enjoy that,” he said. “I want to see them enjoy the fact that they’re able to be in school, that businesses are open and the holidays are coming.”
During his remarks, Biden struggled with his notecards, trying and failing to read off the number of Americans who had received a booster shot of the vaccine, before members of his team stepped in to help him.
He told reporters he would not take questions but rather address the country on Friday on his further efforts to combat the virus.