President Joe Biden said Tuesday unvaccinated Americans were not able to celebrate the holidays safely.
“I know some Americans are wondering if you can safely celebrate the holidays with family and friends,” Biden said during a speech at the White House. “The answer is, yes you can, if you and those who celebrate with you are vaccinated.”
The president addressed the surge of the omicron variant of the virus into the United States and used the opportunity to again promote vaccines.
Biden acknowledged that Americans were afraid of the emergence of the omicron variant of the virus but tried to reassure them that if they were vaccinated they were safe.
“You’ve done the right thing,” he said.
He again urged Americans to get vaccinated and to get a booster shot and get their children five and over vaccinated.
“People with booster shots are highly protected,” he said. “Join them. Join us.”
“I honest to God think it’s your patriotic duty,” he added.
He said that vaccinated Americans were “protected from death” and “protected by death” and would only get mild symptoms from the virus.
The president condemned unvaccinated Americans, accusing them of being selfish.
“You may think you’re only putting yourself at risk, but it’s your choice, your choice is not just a choice about you, it affects other people, you’re putting other people at risk,” he said.
Biden said that the unvaccinated were overwhelming hospitals, making it harder for staff to care for other people.
“Every COVID-19 hospital means that someone with a heart attack, cancer, other serious illness, may not get that bed and that lifesaving care they need in the hospital,” he said.
Biden again warned that unvaccinated Americans faced a greater risk of death from the virus.
“If you are unvaccinated you are at a higher risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19, getting hospitalized, and even dying,” he said.
The president also continued defending his vaccine mandates for private businesses over 100 employees, even though they continue to be challenged in court.
“I know vaccination requirements aren’t popular… but my administration didn’t put them in place to control your life, they put them in place to save your life. And the lives of others,” he said.