President Joe Biden toured a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing plant Friday afternoon outside Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he touted the safety of the vaccine.
“If there’s one message to cut through to everyone in this country, it’s this: The vaccines are safe,” he said, according to NBC News. “Please, for yourself, your family, your community, this country, take the vaccine when it’s your turn … that’s how to beat this pandemic.”
During his tour of the “freezer farm,” where doses are stored in ultra-cold conditions, he was joined by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and White House virus-response coordinator Jeff Zienets. The presidential visit had been delayed by a day because of inclement weather.
Speaking before Biden, Bourla said Pfizer would more than double vaccine production capacity in the coming weeks, the Daily Mail reported. Currently it averages 5 million doses per week.
President Biden at Pfizer plant:
“If there’s one message to cut through to everyone in this country, it’s this: The vaccines are safe. Please, for yourself, your family, your community, this country, take the vaccine when it’s your turn … That’s how to beat this pandemic.” pic.twitter.com/M92BSyw53a
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 19, 2021
On Friday, Pfizer and its vaccine partner BioNTech said they had asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow the vaccine to be stored in normal freezers, a move that would make it easier for the company to ship the vaccine. Currently, the FDA requires the virus to be stored between -112°F and -76°F.
Earlier Friday, the administration said the winter storms in the Midwest and South had delayed the delivery of 6 million vaccine doses, which would impact every state. The 6 million represents three days’ worth of vaccine shipments.
The administration also said it was working with Florida and Pennsylvania to open more vaccination centers.