The decision to give out extra doses of Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines pits federal health officials who say the shots may not protect people from severe disease in the future against the public-health experts who disagree with their logic.
“It just doesn’t make sense on the surface,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “This whole effort of giving a third dose will, frankly, do little to get us on top of this pandemic because the issue here is not boosting the vaccinated. The issue is vaccinating the unvaccinated.”
The majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are occurring in people who are unvaccinated. Only about 60% of the U.S. population who qualify for a shot are fully immunized, though vaccination rates are increasing.
However, federal health officials, citing concerns about waning immunity, announced last Wednesday that the Biden administration plans to allow adults in the U.S. who are fully vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna Inc. MRNA or Pfizer Inc. PFE and partner BioNTech SE BNTX, -3.64% to get a third dose starting Sept. 20 with a few caveats.
The extra dose must be administered at least eight months after the second shot, only to those age 18 and older, and will likely be made available first to higher-risk people, including residents of nursing homes and healthcare workers or those who were vaccinated back in December and January. (Read more from “Doctors Question The Optics And The Scientific Rationale Behind The Plan For COVID-19 Booster Shots In The U.S.” HERE)
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