Acknowledging that there are breakthrough cases among vaccinated Americans, President Biden on Thursday once again urged the public to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. Biden said that vaccinated Americans who test positive often encounter mild or no symptoms from the virus. However, Biden said unvaccinated individuals are at risk of severe outcomes if they test positive, saying they are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized, adding, “The unvaccinated are dying from COVID-19.”
JOE BIDEN: I know we're all frustrated as we enter this new year. Omicron variant is causing millions of cases and record hospitalizations. I've been saying that as we remain in this pandemic, this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And I mean by this right now both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are testing positive, but what happens after that could not be more different. If vaccinated people test positive, they're overwhelmingly have either no symptoms at all, or they have mild symptoms.
And if you're unvaccinated, if they test positive, there are-- you are 17 times more likely to get hospitalized. As a result, they're crowding our hospitals, leaving little room for anyone else who might have a heart attack or an injury in an automobile accident or any injury at all. And yes, the unvaccinated are dying from COVID-19.
But here's the deal. Because we fully vaccinated nearly 210 million Americans, the majority of the country is safe from severe COVID-19 consequences. That's why even as the number of cases among the vaccinated Americans go up, deaths are down dramatically from last winter.
For example, before the vaccination requirement, the United States-- excuse me-- United Airlines was-- was averaging one employee dying a week from COVID-19. After implementing this requirement, it's led to 99% of its employees being vaccinated. United had 3,600 employees test positive but zero hospitalizations, zero deaths in over eight weeks. But as long as we have tens of millions of people who will not get vaccinated, we're going to have full hospitals and needless deaths.
So the single most important thing to determine your outcome in this pandemic is getting vaccinated. If you're not vaccinated, join the nearly 210 million American people who are vaccinated. And if you are vaccinated, join the nearly 80 million Americans who have gotten the booster shot with the strongest protection possible. Vaccines are safe, they're free, and they're widely available. So do it today please for your sake, the sake of your kids, the sake of the country.