Joe Biden wants Americans to get COVID-19 booster shots, but doctors have criticized the idea as politically motivated. The AP’s Zeke Miller reports:
Just one month ago, President Joe Biden and his health advisers announced big plans to soon deliver a booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine to all Americans. But after campaigning for the White House on a pledge to “follow the science,” Biden found himself uncharacteristically ahead of it with that lofty pronouncement.
Some of the nation’s top medical advisers on Friday delivered a stinging rebuke of the idea, in essence telling the White House: not so fast.
A key government advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected Biden’s plan to give COVID-19 booster shots across the board and instead recommended the extra vaccine dose only for those who are age 65 or older or who run a high risk of severe disease.
Biden’s Aug. 18 announcement that the federal government was preparing to shore up nearly all Americans’ protection had been made with great fanfare. It was meant to calm the nerves of millions of Americans fearful of a new, more transmissible strain of the coronavirus.
“The plan is for every adult to get a booster shot eight months after you got your second shot,” Biden said, noting that his administration would be ready to begin the program on Sept. 20.
Biden added the qualification that third doses would require the signoff of health officials at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but his public message glossed over the nuance.
“Just remember,” he said, “as a simple rule: Eight months after your second shot, get a booster shot.”
Biden’s plan drew immediate outrage from global health groups that encouraged the United States and other well-off nations to refrain from administering boosters until poorer countries could provide first doses to their most vulnerable citizens.
“Viewed from a global perspective, this is a squandering of a scarce global resource, as a consequence of which people will die,” said Dr. Peter Lurie, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “I feel completely comfortable saying this,” he added, acknowledging that domestic political considerations weigh differently on presidents.
The Biden plan was criticized, too, by medical professionals, who cited a lack of safety data on extra doses and raised doubts about the value of mass boosters, rather than ones targeted to specific groups.
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