Biden plans to ask Congress for funding to develop new COVID vaccine, may require shot for all

President Biden said Friday he plans to request additional funding from Congress for the development of a new COVID-19 vaccine, adding he may require everyone to take it whether they previously received a vaccine or not.

Biden, who is vacationing in the Lake Tahoe area, was asked by a reporter on Friday if he could say anything about the uptick of COVID cases and a new variant.

“Yes, I can,” the president said. “I signed off this morning on a proposal we have to present to Congress a request for additional funding for a new vaccine that is necessary, that works.”

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President Joe Biden

President Biden delivers remarks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on June 30, 2023.

He added, “Tentatively it is recommended that it will likely be recommended everybody get it no matter whether they’ve gotten it before or not.”

A $40 million funding request to Congress from the White House on Aug. 11 did not mention coronavirus money, but included money for Ukraine, U.S. federal disaster funds, and funds to bolster the enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border to slow the flow of fentanyl into the U.S.

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In 2022, the Biden administration requested $9.25 billion to fight the virus, but congressional lawmakers refused the request.

COVID vaccine

A vial labeled “Vaccine Coronavirus COVID-19” is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken on Jan. 17, 2022.

The Associated Press said officials are expecting an updated COVID-19 vaccine containing one version of the omicron strain called XBB.1.5.

The new vaccine is a change from today’s combination shots, which mix the original coronavirus strain with last year’s most common omicron variants.

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As coronavirus continues to mutate, there will always be a need to update vaccines.

Next month, people will begin to receive the annual fall COVID-19 shot, as Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax are working on doses of the XBB update.

Still, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will need to sign off on each vaccine, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must issue recommendations for their use.

The new booster program would come nearly a year after Biden declared the COVID-19 pandemic “over” in September 2022, though he said, “We’re still doing a lot of work on it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: The headline of this story originally said Biden may “require” everyone take the vaccination, but in his remarks he said “recommend.” We have adjusted the headline to reflect this. 

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Greg Wehner