On Monday, a group of international scientists revealed that current data does not justify the need for receiving COVID booster shots, at least amongst the general population. This group of scientists included two senior officials at the FDA, both of whom are reportedly resigning due to their disagreement with the Biden administration over booster shots for COVID.
Marion Gruber, who serves as the Director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review, along with Phil Krause, her deputy director, intend to leave in October and November, respectively. In conjunction with other scientists, Gruber and Krause published a perspective in The Lancet, which argues that the vaccine itself is effective without booster shots, including efficacy against the highly infectious delta variant.
According to the authors, “careful and public scrutiny of the evolving data will be needed to assure that decisions about boosting are informed by reliable science more than by politics,” adding that “widespread boosting” should only occur if “clear evidence” surfaces that such treatment “is appropriate.”
In addition, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who serves as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Dr. Janet Woodcock, who serves as the Acting Commissioner of the FDA, have informed the White House that more time is necessary to review data before issuing any form of approval for vaccine booster shots.
Both the CDC and FDA have limited data suggesting that certain individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine may consider receiving a booster shot.
However, in the past month, various health officials associated with the Biden administration proclaimed that the United States would start offering COVID booster shots on September 20, pending a review from the FDA.
According to Dr. Fauci, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and others, available data presumably reveals that vaccine efficacy “could diminish in the months ahead,” particularly amongst individuals “who are higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout.”
On the other hand, scientists have called for caution over making rapid conclusions regarding vaccine efficacy, especially from primarily observational studies that could be greatly impacted by “confounding and selective reporting” regarding the booster shot rollout across the nation. A smarter strategy would be to reserve vaccine supplies for unvaccinated populations, per the scientists’ view.