On Monday, a group of international researchers, including experts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), published a study in the Lancet medical journal. However, they stressed that COVID-19 booster shots are not backed by scientific evidence to prove they actually work.
According to the study’s proponents, while the administration of COVID-19 vaccines has been seen to prevent symptomatic and severe illness resulting from infection, there is no such finding yet for booster shots. However, they also emphasized that vaccines are somewhat “less effective” at staving off symptomatic illness caused by the Delta strain of the virus.
The researchers pointed out that given this fact, the current call for booster shots have serious implications and may ultimately lead to the loss of confidence in them. They also warn that since there is still no scientific evidence to back them up, there is the possibility that booster shots could have “significant adverse reactions.”
These adverse reactions could manifest if booster shots are prematurely administered or used frequently. One of the potential risks that the study’s proponents indicated is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. They explained that should many people experience this adverse reaction, confidence in the vaccine could plummet even more.
The international researchers rounded off their study by saying that the push for booster shots will lower the number of people whose lives could be saved by the vaccine. Moreover, with the vaccine’s already limited supply, less-developed countries will find it even trickier to protect their citizens against COVID-19.
Dr. Ana-Maria Henao-Restrepo, WHO researcher and the study’s lead author, said that the present studies available lack “credible evidence of substantially declining protection against severe disease, which is the primary goal of vaccination.” She also stressed that the limited vaccine supply will save more lives if made available to people who have not yet received any vaccine at all.