Daily Management Review

Evidence To Support Covid-19 Booster Shots Questioned By Scientists


Evidence To Support Covid-19 Booster Shots Questioned By Scientists
The decision of the United States to have mass booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines is based on scientific reports of waning efficacy of the shots to protect people against mild illness from the disease – which also means people will also have less protection against severe form of Covid-19 illness. However, that premise is being questioned by some scientists who argue that the premise has not yet been proven.
Earlier this week, the Joe Biden administration said that boosters shots for Americans will be made widely available from September 20 – a decision that was based on data of some studies that have shown a reduction in efficacy and consequent waning of protection of fully vaccinated people from mild and moderate illness from the vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna, six months after the final shot. 
Those who have had their initial inoculation at least eight months ago will be allowed to take the booster shot.
"Recent data makes clear that protection against mild and moderate disease has decreased over time. This is likely due to both waning immunity and the strength of the widespread Delta variant," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told reporters.
"We are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing will continue in the months ahead, which could lead to reduced protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death," Murthy said.
According to the available data on the breakthrough cases so far in the US shows that the most vulnerable to severe illness are the older Americans.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 74 per cent of the 8,054 fully vaccinated people who had to be admitted to hospitals for severe illness from Covid-19 were over the age of 65 years.
The data available so far on vaccine protection, there is no confirmation whether younger, healthier people have the risk of a breakthrough infection. 
"We don't know if that translates into a problem with the vaccine doing what is most important, which is protect against hospitalization, death, and serious disease. On that, the jury is still out," said Dr. Jesse Goodman, an infectious disease expert at Georgetown University in Washington and a former chief scientist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
A number of nations have already decided to allow booster shots of e vaccines to older adults and those that have weak immune systems and other comorbid conditions. 
However, the European Union does not yet have found any evidence to suggest there is a need for a booster shot for the immune systems, officials said on Wednesday.
There is a need for thorough vetting by the FDA of the decision of the US to allow booster shots, along with a panel of external experts to the CDC, say other experts. The CDC said on Thursday on its website that such a meeting of advisors for discussing the booster shot requirement has been rescheduled for August 24.
There were no comments available from the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC and FDA.
"The more important thing, I think, at this point than boosters is making sure we get the vaccine in any arm that hasn't had one as fast as we can," said Dr. Dan McQuillen, an infectious disease specialist in Burlington, Massachusetts, and the incoming president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
"You could end up in situation where you are chasing your tail, giving more and more boosters in the U.S. and Western Europe, while more dangerous variants are coming from other places," said Dr. Isaac Weisfuse, epidemiologist and adjunct professor at Cornell University Public Health.