President Joe Biden urged people Tuesday to receive their coronavirus vaccines and boosters — and uncharacteristically praised his predecessor in the process.

Biden, outlining the specifics of his plan to boost testing and vaccination efforts in the face of a winter omicron wave, claimed that the work of the Trump administration made it possible for the United States to be "one of the first countries to get the vaccine."


He also specifically pointed to former President Donald Trump's announcement over the weekend that he, like Biden, had received his coronavirus booster shot and urged his supporters to do the same.

"I got my booster shot as soon as they're available, and just the other day former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot," Biden stated. "That may be one of the few things he and I agree on. People with booster shots are highly protected, so join us."

The president also directly criticized people he claimed are "peddling lies" and misinformation about vaccinations on cable television and social media.

"It's wrong. It's immoral," the president declared. "I'm calling on the purveyors of these lies and misinformation to stop it. Stop it now."

Biden's new omicron plan focuses on three specific objectives:

  • Surging support to hospitals across the country.
  • Providing "robust" access to COVID-19 testing, including sending 500 million at-home tests to people who wish to receive them.
  • Expanding vaccination capacity.

To help hospitals, the president will deploy thousands of military personnel with medical training to at-risk hospitals across the country and has instructed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to have an additional 1,000 troops on standby for the mission. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will also deploy national response teams to help hospitals build out their COVID-19 capacity and transport patients by ambulance to open beds. Furthermore, the Department of Health and Human Services is readying masks, gloves, ventilators, and other medical supplies from the National Strategic Stockpile to be shipped to communities as needed.

In addition to the 500 million at-home tests, which people will be able to sign up to receive via a new online portal, the Biden administration is leveraging the Defense Production Act to surge the manufacture of coronavirus tests and plans to set up new federally operated testing centers. Many local communities had shuttered some of their free testing centers since 2020.

Finally, the administration announced plans to set up more vaccination clinics in coordination with local governments and deploy additional vaccinators to communities with low vaccination rates. The administration will continue the advocacy campaigns urging eligible people, which now includes everyone over the age of 5, to receive their first and second doses and boosters wherever possible.

One White House official claimed that if people "are vaccinated and follow the process that we all know well, especially like masking while traveling, they should feel comfortable celebrating Christmas and the holidays." Biden himself echoed that thought during his speech Tuesday.

"We also know that if you are unvaccinated, you are at high risk of getting sick. This variant is highly transmissible and the unvaccinated are eight times more likely to be hospitalized and 14 times more likely to die from COVID," that person continued. "Unfortunately, because we have about 40 million eligible yet still unvaccinated adults and because we know omicron is more transmissible, we are prepared for cases to rise."


You can watch Biden's speech in its entirety below.