After U.S. President Joe Biden announced that the rollout for COVID-19 booster shots would commence on September 20, several scientists have questioned the logic and timeliness of the said move.
One of the points raised by the health experts is the reason behind the prioritization of the booster shots when there is still a very significant number of Americans who have not had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine yet.
During a panel discussion on Monday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which provides consultation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stressed that the Biden administration should utilize a different approach regarding the booster shots.
The Biden-led administration confirmed earlier that “the rollout of any booster doses will not go ahead without a vote by ACIP and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval.” But, it seems that the President’s recent announcement gives the idea that the booster shots should be the top priority.
Dr. Henry Bernstein, a pediatrician at Northwell Health Cohen’s Children Medical Center in New York, said, “the public expectation is that boosters are needed now.” However, he also added
that there is still “more data to be reviewed and work to be done in evaluating whether boosters are needed in various populations.”
Other experts like epidemiologist Dr. Felipe Lobelo related that data on the timeframe when the COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy wanes is still uncertain.
He added that it is still unclear if the so-called breakthrough infections and the surge in test-positive cases in the country are due to the people changing behaviors or if the Delta strain is just more transmissible.
Emory University’s professor of medicine, Dr. Carlos del Rio, shared that President Biden’s move to focus more on booster shots is just “sidetracking” the country from the most significant problem it should solve first.
“The problem is by focusing on boosters, we’re distracting from the biggest problem, which is all the unvaccinated people,” del Rio added.