Science panel crushes the president’s plans for booster Covid shots. A “major blow.“
By a vote of 16-2, a science advisory committee opposed a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older.
At the same time, the panel endorsed the shots for high risk patients and people over 65.
The vote came after a sharp debate in which many of the panel’s independent experts, including infectious disease doctors and statisticians, challenged whether the data justified a broad rollout of extra shots when the vaccines appear to still offer robust protection against severe Covid-19 disease and hospitalization, at least in the United States.
“It’s unclear that everyone needs to be boosted, other than a subset of the population that clearly would be at high risk for serious disease,” said Dr. Michael G. Kurilla, a committee member and official at the National Institutes of Health.
Here’s a takeaway from the panel’s debate and decision: Science isn’t always settled. Different views exist. New challenges pop up. Politically motivated claims about “settled” and “consensus” are not just anti-science but also dangerous to the commonweal. Such claims are based on the premise that Americans are ignorant and stupid.
Some other points made in the New York Times story:
*The recommendation was the latest in a series of setbacks for President Biden’s booster plan since he first announced it a month ago…
*In a remarkable public display of internal dissension, two F.D.A. scientists co-authored a medical journal article earlier this week arguing that there was no credible evidence yet in support of booster shots for the general population….
*The F.D.A. committee’s vote followed hours of presentations by officials from Pfizer, the C.D.C., the Israeli government and independent experts on the complex array of data they have collected up until now about the waning effectiveness of Pfizer and other vaccines over time.”
To get a true picture about how much expert scientists can disagree, please read the entire New York Times story.Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.