Scientific Data Shows That Covid Booster Shots Are Not Appropriate Now
September 13, 2021
September 24, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday endorsed the distribution of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 booster shots to older Americans and other vulnerable people, including those in high-risk occupational and institutional settings. Millions of Americans who are at the highest risk for Covid will now be able to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot to increase their protection.
However, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made a recommendation that the advisory panel had rejected. The panel voted against giving booster shots to people from 18 to 64 years old who were at a higher risk of exposure to the virus due to their workplace or institutional setting, but Walensky put that recommendation back in. Here’s what the CDC recommends:
“I believe we can best serve the nation’s public health needs by providing booster doses for the elderly, those in long-term care facilities, people with underlying medical conditions, and for adults at high risk of disease from occupational and institutional exposures to COVID-19,” said Dr. Walensky. The move aligns with the FDA’s booster authorization, she added.
The recommendation doesn’t go nearly as far as President Joe Biden wanted. His administration said it planned to start giving booster shots to people 16 and older this week. While the CDC panel’s recommendation doesn’t give the Biden administration everything it wanted, boosters will still be on the way for millions of Americans who originally received Pfizer’s shots.
The endorsement comes a day after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to administer third Pfizer shots to many Americans six months after they complete their first two doses. While the CDC’s committee’s recommendation isn’t binding, Walensky is expected to accept the panel’s endorsement shortly.
“We can use the experience from Israel to inform our knowledge of the safety of boosters,” Oliver said, adding the country has only reported one case of a rare heart inflammation condition known as myocarditis out of nearly 3 million third doses administered.
CDC official Dr. Kathleen Dooling said data also suggests a third dose may reduce the risk of severe illness in older adults and people with comorbidities. Potential risks include myocarditis, although this risk is very rare, occurring mostly in males under 30, she said. “The third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine appears to have similar reactogenicity as the second dose,” she added.
The topic of who should get boosters and when has been a contentious topic among the scientific community since the Biden administration last month outlined its plan to widely distribute them.
In outlining plans last month to start distributing boosters as early as this week, Biden administration officials cited three CDC studies that showed the vaccines’ protection against Covid diminished over several months. Senior health officials said at the time they worried protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death “could” diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were inoculated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout.
October 16, 2021
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