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tv   President Biden on Omicron Variant  CSPAN  November 29, 2021 5:52pm-6:12pm EST

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>> president biden today said the new omicron coronavirus variant from south africa is a cause for concern but not a cause for --. in remarks at the white house, he called for americans to get vaccinated and receive booster shots.
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because -- >> good morning, president biden good morning : folks. hope you all had a happy thanksgiving, able to get together with your family and friends, and it was great to see so many families getting together this thanksgiving after being apart last year, and we have much to be grateful for as a nation. when i was elected, i said i would always be honest with you. so today i want to take a few moments to talk about the new covid variant first identified last week in southern africa.
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it is called the omicron. to their credit, the scientific community in south africa, quickly notified the world of the emergence of this new variant. this kind of transparency is to be encouraged and applauded , because it increases our ability to respond quickly to any new threats and that's exactly what we did. the very day the world health organization identified the new variant, i took immediate steps to restrict travel from countries in southern africa. but while we have that travel restrictions can slow the speed of omicron, it cannot prevent it. but here's what it does. it gives us time. it gives us time to take more actions, to move quicker, to make sure people understand you have to get your vaccine. you have to get the shot. you have to get the booster. sooner or later we're going to see cases of this new variant here in the united states. we'll have to face this new threat just as we faced those that come before it.
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today there are three messages about the new variant that i want the american people to hear. first, this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. we have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists, and we're learning more every single day. and we'll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion. we have more tools today to fight the variant than we've ever had before from vaccines to boosters, to vaccines for children five years and older and much more. a year ago, america was floundering against the first variant of covid. we beat that variant significantly and then we got hit by a far more powerful threat, the delta variant. but we took action and now we're seeing deaths from delta come down. look. we're going to fight and beat
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this new variant as well. we're learning more about this new variant every single day. and as we learn more, we're going to share that information with the american people, candidly and promptly. second, the best protection -- i know you are tired of hearing me say this -- the best protection against this new variant or any of the variants out there, the ones we've been dealing with already, is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot. most americans are fully vaccinated, but not yet boosted. if you're 18 years or over and got fully vaccinated before june 1, go get the booster shot today. they're free, and they're available at 80,000 locations coast to coast. a fully vaccinated booster person is the most protected against covid. do not wait. go get your booster if it's time for you to do so. and if you are not vaccinated,
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now's the time to get vaccinated and take your children to be vaccinated. pres. biden: every child age five or older can get safe, effective vaccines now. while it will be a few weeks before we know everything we need to know about how strongly the existing vaccines protect against the new variant, dr. fauci is with me today, of our medical team, and i believe that the vaccines will continue to provide a degree of protection against severe disease. and as additional protections, please wear your masks when you're indoors, in public settings, around other people. it protects you. it protects those around you. third, in the event, hopefully unlikely, that updated vaccinations or boosters are needed to respond to this new variant, we will accelerate their development and deployment with every available tool. i want to reiterate, dr. fauci believes that the current vaccines provide at least some protection against the new
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variant, and the boosters strengthen that protection significantly. we do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed. but so that we are prepared if needed, my team is already working with officials at pfizer, and moderna, and johnson and johnson to develop contingency plans for vaccines or boosters if needed, and i will also direct the fda and the cdc to use the fastest process available without cutting any corners for safety to get such vaccines approved and on the market if needed. and we'll do that the same way if any modifications are needed or current treatments need to use to help those who get ill with the covid virus. i am sparing no effort in removing all roadblocks to keep the american people safe. all of this is confusing to a lot of people, but if it's confusing to you, let me close
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with this simple message. if you are vaccinated but still worried about the new variant, get your booster. if you aren't vaccinated, get that shot. go get that first shot. my team at the white house will provide me with daily updates this week. on thursday, i'll be putting forward a detailed strategy outlining how we're going to fight covid this winter, not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more. i promised every american that there will always be the latest vaccines available and the booster shots available to them and for free and everywhere available. every single american, free of charge, and i will keep that commitment. but we need to do more than vaccinate americans. to beat the pandemic, we have to vaccinate the world, as well, and america's leading that effort. we've shipped for free more vaccines to other countries than
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all other countries in the world combined, over 275 million vaccines to 110 countries. now we need the rest of the world to step up as well. let me be clear. not a single vaccine shot i will always make sure that our people are protected first. this gives us one more tool and how we need to meet our moral obligation as americans. they all emerged elsewhere in the world. we continue this effort. we are in a very different place as we enter december.
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compared to where we were last christmas. last christmas, our children were at risk without a vaccine. this christmas, we have safely rolled out vaccines for children. 99% of schools are open. we now have booster shots that provide extra protection. they are free and convenient. there is still time to get your first two segments. you can celebrate the holidays
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much more safely. that is a blessing. not of us should take it for granted. we are throwing everything we can at this virus. tracking it from every angle. that is how we reopen our country. how we reopen businesses, schools, even with the pandemic, we generate record crop -- job growth. we move forward in the face of covid-19. in the face of the delta variant. and in the face of the omicron variant. thank you. may god bless our troops. i hope you have a merry christmas. >> should americans be worried? president biden: let me call nancy bloomberg. >> do you think other countries will be reluctant to report
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variants or other strains given the travel bands you put on south africa? president biden: i don't think so. i don't think that is what is going to happen. the reason for them being in travel ban there are a significant number of cases. unlike any other country in the world. we needed time to give people opportunities to get that vaccination now. it is almost inevitable there will be that strain in the u.s.. i don't think anyone will be reluctant to report. we have provided more vaccines.
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south africa does not need any more vaccines. they are having trouble getting it out. i don't think it will have that effect. >> is the u.s. doing anything to screen international travelers for this variant? what is being done? president biden: there is a lot being done. i will turn to dr. fauci to answer the last question. dr. fauci: we already have in place when people come into the u.s., they have to be tested. they have to show vaccination documentation. even before omicron came and, we had a situation where we were
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able to test. they would pick up this very unusual variant. it has a large constellation of mutations. president biden: we are following the medical community. any developments with how severe it is. how quickly it spreads. how dangerous it is. we have more work to do in that area. >> thank you, mr. president. the u.k., europe, and growing number of countries have cases of omicron. are you considering additional travel restrictions? you urged americans to wear masks. many cities have lifted masto mandates. are you calling on state and
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local officials to reinstate mast mandates? president biden: with regard to your last question, i encourage everyone to wear a mask. unless you are eating or speaking into a microphone. the degree of spread impacts whether or not there is a need for any travel restrictions. i do not anticipate that at this point. we will see. we will see how it works. ok. i will ask the other alex. >> is this the new normal that
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americans should expect? should we expect intermittent travel restrictions? the stock market going forward? can you give any reassurance that this will not become the new normal? dr. fauci said earlier that lockdowns and shutdowns are off the table. you set that will not be part of your plan. why are you taking that off the table? president biden: i expect this not to be the new normal. i expect the new normal to be everyone gets vaccinated and has the booster shot. it remains to be seen what the elements of this particular strain are. i hope it will not be fundamentally different than the past.
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>> are lockdowns off the table? president biden: yes. >> why is that? president biden: if people are vaccinated and wear their masks, there is no need for that. >> going on from that question, we have christmas coming up, a huge amount of travel, would you give any thought to domestic requirements for vaccines? president biden: at this point that has not been recommended. i would wait for the scientific community to give that recommendation. >> are travel restrictions too late? president biden: they give us time to get people protection. thank you also very much. i appreciate it. i'm sure i will see you between
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now and christmas. i hope you had a good weekend. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] >> every day we are taking your calls live on the air with the news of the day. we will discuss policy issues that impact you. tuesday morning, we will discuss the president's economic policy. then, heidi heitkamp talks about rural voters. watch at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion with your
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