Fact check: Fox News falsely claims Biden 'didn't listen to the FDA' on boosters

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President Joe Biden said vaccine boosters would be released 'pending approval' from the FDA.

On Tuesday, Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt falsely claimed that the Biden administration ignores Food and Drug Administration decisions on COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. But President Joe Biden has always said that the recommendation of boosters was subject to FDA policy.

On "Fox & Friends," during a discussion of purported Biden administration controversies, Earhardt claimed, "They didn't listen to the FDA and said boosters are a good thing."

That isn't what happened.

On Aug. 18, Biden delivered a speech previewing the administration's plan to provide booster shots.

"Pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC's Committee of outside experts, we'll be ready to start these booster — this booster program during the week of September 20," Biden said, according to the White House transcript. "My administration has been planning for this possibility and this scenario for months."

The sentiment was echoed the same day in a fact sheet released by the White House, which noted the booster shots would be offered starting Sept. 20 "pending final Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluation and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)."

Biden said the same thing in a Sept. 9 speech: "The decision of which booster shots to give, when to start them, and who will give them, will be left completely to the scientists at the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control."

On Friday, an FDA advisory panel recommended booster shots only for people 65 and older and those in so far unspecified high-risk categories.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about vaccine boosters during her briefing on Monday and told reporters that the administration continues to rely on the FDA process.

"There's also a process in place for a reason," said Psaki:

And I would say — I think any of us would say — to anyone who's frustrated or who wants to have their booster shot now: That process is in place for a reason so that you can trust what the final recommendation and the final outcome is. ... I think that's important for people to understand, and Dr. Fauci referenced this yesterday. There will be additional data. There will be additional data from probably Moderna, from J&J, others in the coming weeks. There'll be more data for people who are younger than 65. They will look at all of that.

 

This is an ongoing process. This is not a decision that there will never be boosters for others. This is the first step in a process — a positive one, in our view — about protecting more people.

 

And — but it is also important to keep the FDA as the gold standard and ensure that process proceeds so people can trust their recommendations.

Earhardt's claim about the Biden administration and the FDA does not square with Biden administration officials' actual statements.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.