Biden directs FDA, CDC to clear new vaccines if needed

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President Joe Biden said Monday he is directing federal agencies to be prepared to move as quickly as possible to approve additional vaccines or boosters tailored to shield against the new omicron coronavirus variant.

The current Covid vaccines are believed to provide at least some protection from the heavily mutated omicron strain, and booster shots “strengthen that protection significantly,” Biden assured Americans in a speech at the White House.

“We do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed,” he said.

But the president said his administration nevertheless is working with vaccine-makers Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to develop contingency plans for new vaccines or boosters if needed.

The White House is also directing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use the “fastest process available without cutting any corners” to approve those potential vaccines and get them on the market, Biden said.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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