Once the Biden administration is finished showering coronavirus vaccine booster shots upon anyone who wants them, it is likely to make them mandatory for anyone who wants to wear the label of being fully vaccinated, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“In my opinion boosters are ultimately going to become a part of the standard regimen and not just a bonus,” Fauci said, according to Axios.
Although President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate targeting employers has been paused while it is fought out in court, imposing a new standard to be fully vaccinated could impact millions of Americans who have not received a booster shot.
“I believe it’s extremely important for people to get boosters, and I am hoping very soon we will see a situation where there won’t be any confusion about who should and should not get boosters,” Fauci said.
That’s because the Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for everybody by as early as Thursday.
The action is expected to be taken without even pretending to hear from the FDA’s expert panel, according to The New York Times. In the past, the FDA’s experts have not been fully on board with the push for boosters.
The FDA’s projected approval of the White House’s plan will be followed Friday by a meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine expert panel.
The Times report indicated that an approval Friday is expected, meaning that by the weekend, anyone who is six months past his or her last vaccination can get a Pfizer booster.
Moderna is so far lagging behind, but will soon submit a request to have its booster given to everybody. Several European nations have banned Moderna’s vaccine from being given to people under 30 due to concerns over the risk of heart inflammation from the vaccine.
The push for boosters comes as about 36 percent of Americans 65 and above have gotten a booster shot, according to the CDC. Overall, less than 16 percent of Americans have received boosters.
“As every month goes by, the immunity wanes more and more. So as time goes by, you’re going to see more vaccinated people” infected, Fauci warned, according to Axios.
“As is always the case, the elderly are more vulnerable, because they’re more likely to have waning of protection over time,” Fauci said.
But while Fauci and the Biden White House push for more boosters to more people, not everyone is on board.
A study published Monday in the British journal The Lancet pushed against the administration’s thinking.
“Although the idea of further reducing the number of COVID-19 cases by enhancing immunity in vaccinated people is appealing, any decision to do so should be evidence-based and consider the benefits and risks for individuals and society. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be effective against severe disease, including that caused by the delta variant,” the study said.
The study noted that the factual basis for the booster push from an administration that promised to follow the science rests upon unsteady scientific ground.
“Most of the observational studies on which this conclusion is based are, however, preliminary and difficult to interpret precisely due to potential confounding and selective reporting,” the study said.
“Careful and public scrutiny of the evolving data will be needed to assure that decisions about boosting are informed by reliable science more than by politics. Even if boosting were eventually shown to decrease the medium-term risk of serious disease, current vaccine supplies could save more lives if used in previously unvaccinated populations than if used as boosters in vaccinated populations,” the study continued.
The study also said that in a global pandemic, using vaccine boosters that may not be needed might not be the best idea.
“The vaccines that are currently available are safe, effective and save lives. The limited supply of these vaccines will save the most lives if made available to people who are at appreciable risk of serious disease and have not yet received any vaccine. Even if some gain can ultimately be obtained from boosting, it will not outweigh the benefits of providing initial protection to the unvaccinated. If vaccines are deployed where they would do the most good, they could hasten the end of the pandemic by inhibiting further evolution of variants. Indeed, WHO has called for a moratorium on boosting until the benefits of primary vaccination have been made available to more people around the world,” the study said.
“This is a compelling issue, particularly as the currently available evidence does not show the need for widespread use of booster vaccination in populations that have received an effective primary vaccination regimen,” the study concluded.
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