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COVID-19 boosters are ‘not appropriate’ at this time, multiple experts say

Experts, including two reviewers for the FDA, are opposing a U.S. booster shot plan right now

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are kept cold during a Utah County Health clinic at Equestrian Park in Highland on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Multiple scientific experts — including two reviewers for the Food and Drug Administration — said in a new research paper that the COVID-19 booster shots are “not appropriate” at this time.

Per The Associated Press, the international group of scientists said that the average person doesn’t need a COVID-19 booster shot right now. They released their findings in a paper for The Lancet medical journal

  • “Even in populations with fairly high vaccination rates, the unvaccinated are still the major drivers of transmission,” the researchers concluded.

The group included Drs. Phil Krause and Marion Gruber, who are two leading reviewers with the FDA. The other scientists involved with the paper include researchers from U.S., Britain, France, South Africa and India, plus some experts with the World Health Organization, according to The Associated Press.

The scientists said that COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness likely wanes over time. However, the risk of severe disease and hospitalization does not. The body’s immune system has defenses that could prevent someone from getting sick, according to CNBC.

  • “Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high,” the scientists wrote.
  • Distributing boosters is “not appropriate at this stage in the pandemic,” the researchers said.

This adds more fuel to the debate over COVID-19 booster shots. Back in August, a number of U.S. health officials said all Americans should get COVID-19 booster shots after there was new data that showed fully vaccinated people are not fully protected from COVID-19, especially the delta variant.

  • “We are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease,” officials told The New York Times.

But experts haven’t been fully onboard. The WHO has said boosters aren’t necessary when millions across the world don’t have any vaccines to stay protection.

And Dr. Céline Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center, told The New York Times that the COVID-19 booster should only be required if COVID-19 was leading to hospitalizations among all fully vaccinated people.

  • “Feeling sick like a dog and laid up in bed, but not in the hospital with severe COVID, is not a good enough reason,” Gounder told The New York Times. “We’ll be better protected by vaccinating the unvaccinated here and around the world.”