tv President Biden on Omicron Variant CSPAN November 29, 2021 9:44pm-10:04pm EST
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because -- >> good morning, folks. hope you all had a happy thanksgiving and were able to get together with your family and friends. it was great to see so many family getting together this thanksgiving after being apart last year, and with 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. it's called the omicron and it is come 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 as it increases our ability to respond quickly to any new threats, and that's exactly what we did. that 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 travel restrictions can slow the speed of omicron, they cannot prevent it but here's what it does. it gives us time, 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 will see cases of this new variant here in the united states. we will have to face this new threat just wait we faced those that of come before it.
today, there are three messages about the new variant that what the american people to hear. first, this variant is a cause of concern, not a cause for panic. we have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists and we are learning more every single day. we will fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion. we have more tools today the fight the variant that we've ever had before. from vaccine boosters the vaccines for children, five years and older and much more. a year ago america was floundering against the first variant of covid. we be 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 of delta come down. we will fight -- book, were going to fight and beat this to variant as well.
we are 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're tired of hearing me say this, the best protection against this new variant, or any of the very ends out there, the ones we've been dealing with already, is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot. most americans are fully vaccinated not yet boosted. if you are 18 years or older and get fully vaccinated before junt today. they are free and they are 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 is time for you to do so. and if you are not vaccinated, now is a time to get vaccinated and take your children to be
vaccinated. every child age five or older can get safe effective vaccines now. while only a few weeks before everything we know about how strong the existing vaccines protect against new variant, drr medical team, believe the vaccines will continue to provide adequate protection against severe disease. and as additional protections, please wear your mask 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 the development and deployment with every available tool. i want to reiterate, dr. fauci believes the current vaccines provide at least some protection against the new variant, and the booster strengthens that
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, moderna and johnson & johnson's to develop contingency plans for vaccines or boosters, if needed. and i will also direct the fda and cdc to use the fastest processor available without cutting any corners for safety to get such vaccines approved and on the market, if needed. and we will do that the same way any modifications are needed for current treatments used to help those who get ill with the covid virus. look, i'm sparing no effort and removing all roadblocks to keep the american people safe. all of this is confusing to a lot of people, that if it is confusing to you let me close with the simple message. if you are vaccinated but still
worried about the new variant, get your booster. if you are vaccinated, get that shot, go get that first shot -- if you're not -- my team at the white house provides 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 more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more. i promised every american that there will always be the latest vaccines available and booster shots available for free and february available. every single american free of charge, and i'll 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 the effort. we ship for free more vaccines to other countries than 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 americans ever sent to the rest of the world will ever come at the expense of any american. i will always make sure that our people are protected first, but vaccinating the world is just one more tool in how we need to meet our moral obligations as americans and how to best protect americans as well. the delta variant and now the omicron variant all emerged elsewhere in the world. so we can't let up until the world is vaccinated. we're protecting americans by doing that as well. as we continue this effort let's remember where we stand. we are in a very different place as we enter the month of december, this month, compared to where we were last christmas.
last christmas fewer than 1% of american adults were vaccinated. this crisp as the number will be over 71%, including more than 86% of seniors. last christmas our children were at risk without a vaccine. this christmas we have safe and vaccines for children ages five and older. with more than 19 million children and counting now vaccinated. last year a majority of schools were closed. this year 99% of our schools are open. let me reiterate once more. we also now have booster shots to provide extra protection that are free and convenient. there is still time to get your first two shots or your booster shot or get your children vaccinated before christmas. all three are available and can be done before christmas. if you and your family are fully vaccinated, you can celebrate the holidays much more safely. and given where we were last year that's a blessing, that
none of us should take for granted. we are throwing everything we can't at this virus, tracking it from every angle, and that's what we have to keep doing. that's how we reopen our country. that's how we reopen our businesses. that's how we reopen our schools. that's how -- generate record job creation, record economic growth of this country. we move forward in the face of covid-19. we have moved forward in the face of the delta variant. we will move forward now in the face of the omicron variant as well. so thank you. may god bless our troops, and i hope you all have -- i'll be speaking before then, but a merry christmas as we approach it. questions? >> should americans be worried? >> let me colonnade to bloomberg. >> thank you so much. do you think other countries will be reluctant to report variants or other strains given that travel ban you put so
quickly on south africa? >> no. i don't think so. i don't think that's what's going to happen. i want to again, the reason for the immediate travel ban is there were significant number of cases unlike any other country, although few around south africa, in the world. we needed time to give people an opportunity to say get that vaccination now before it it's going to move around the world. i think it's almost inevitable that will be at some point that stranger in the united states here but i don't, i don't think anyone is going to be reluctant to report. we also moved to do more, for example, we provided more vaccines, as i said, that all of the countries in the world combined and we have provided significant vaccines as well to south africa and that we could get as a matter-of-fact south africa need any more vaccine. having trouble getting it out in
the people's arms and reluctance was there but no, i don't think it's going have that effect. >> let me call on alexis. >> we have two alex is. >> alex from reuters. >> i wanted to ask if the u.s. is doing anything to international travel for the street and was being done if anything internally to see of the virus variant has already arrived? >> there's a lot being done. go to turkey dr. fauci to answer the last question about what is being done. doc? >> thank you, mr. president. we all we have in place when people come into the united states they have to be tested before they get on an after show vaccination documentation. so even before omicron came in we had a situation where will be able to test and talking about testing, so fortunately for us the pcr is that we mostly use
would pick up this very unusual variant that has a real large constellation of mutation or fortunately the pcr we do pick it up. >> and we are following extremely closely the medical community, keep any developments as it relates to how severe it is, i quickly it spreads, how dangerous it is, et cetera we have more work do in that area. "wall street journal." >> thank you, mr. president. the uk, , europe and a growing number of countries have confirmed cases of omicron. are you considering additional travel restrictions where the variant has been detected? you urged americans to wear a mask and indoor that many spaces including washington, d.c. have lifted mask mandate. are you calling in state and local officials to reinstate mask mandates? >> with regard to the last
question, the answer is i encourage everyone to wear a mask when they're indoors in a crowded circumstance like we are right now. unless you're eating or speaking into a microphone. secondly, the degree of the spread impacts on whether or not there's a need for any travel restriction, but that's not, i don't anticipate that at this point. we will see. we will see how that works. so the other alex doesn't have a heart attack i want to call on him. [inaudible] >> let me ask the other alex and then you. >> mr. president, is this the new normal that americans should expect and anticipate future
potential variants? should we expect intermittent travel restrictions and potential drop in the stock market going forward? any in the words of reassurans will not become the new normal? for both you and dr. fauci, he said earlier on cbs lockdowns,, shutdowns are off the table for restraining covid going for pick you said that won't be part of your plant on thursday but why is that? whitey taken off the table? >> to answer your first question first, the answer is i expect this not to be the new normal. i expect the new normal to be at who ends up getting vaccinated with a booster shot so would reduce the number of people who are not protected to such a low degree that we do not see the spread of these viruses. now, remained to be seen exactay the elements of this particular strain are, but as i hope that it's not can be fundamentally different than in the past. and in terms of -- what was a second question? >> are lockdowns off the table?
>> yes. >> why is that? >> because were able, if people are vaccinated and where the masks, there's no need for lockdowns. last question. >> going on from the question, christmas. season come have come huge amount of travel. would you -- domestic flights requiring test for vaccine before we get on playing the same way to do for international flights? >> at this point that is not been recommended. i would wait for the scientific community to give me a recommendation on that. >> park travel restrictions too late to be effective given dr. fauci says this new variant could already be a? >> we understand the point of the restriction, to give us time to get people to get protection, to be vaccinated and get the booster. that's the reason for it. thank you also very, very much. i appreciate it. thank you. and that your i will see you between now and christmas. hope hope you had a good thanksgiving.
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