WASHINGTON, March 31 — President Joe Biden received a second Covid-19 vaccine booster shot Wednesday and urged Americans to keep their guard up, while declaring that the pandemic no longer dominates the country.

“It didn’t hurt a bit,” Biden said as a member of the White House medical team gave him the Pfizer dose — now his fourth.

At 79, Biden is the oldest person to have held the US presidency. Despite strict precautions at the White House, several people who interact with him or been close to him have recently tested positive for the coronavirus, raising concerns for his health.

Biden said in televised remarks before getting the jab that the country was increasingly putting the pandemic in the rearview mirror, even if cases are currently “ticking up.”

“We’re now in a new moment in this pandemic. It does not mean that Covid-19 is over,” he said, unveiling a new website, COVID.gov, to help people find tests and vaccines. “It means that Covid-19 no longer controls our lives.”

Biden got the extra booster a day after regulators authorized a fourth dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for people 50 and older, as authorities warn of a possible new wave driven by the BA.2 variant.

The Food and Drug Administration said it based its decision on emerging evidence that an additional booster, given four months after the last, improved protection against severe Covid and wasn’t associated with new safety concerns.

Two of Biden’s spokeswomen have recently tested positive for Covid: Jen Psaki, who cancelled her planned travel to Europe with the president as a result, and Psaki’s deputy Karine Jean-Pierre, who tested positive right after the high-profile trip.

The White House stressed in both cases that the president, since he is vaccinated and boosted, was not in danger.

Earlier this month, Biden attended a dinner in Washington where he met with Ireland’s prime minister, Micheal Martin, who abruptly left the gala after being informed of a positive Covid test.

The White House said Biden had not spent enough time with Martin to be at risk.

Shortly before Martin’s case, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, who regularly sees Biden, also tested positive for Covid-19. — AFP