CDC May Recommend Third COVID Booster. Is it Really Needed?
Amid growing skepticism from the scientific community over the need for repeated COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already talking about recommending a third booster in the fall.
In an interview with NJ.com, Dr. Rochelle Walensky urged those 50 and those with underlying health conditions to get a second booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Walensky also suggested a fourth dose would be needed.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will begin meeting with CDC officials on April 6 to consider authorizing a third booster dose.
Scientists, researchers, and the medical community almost universally supported efforts to get Americans vaccinated against COVID when the vaccines first became available in December of 2020.
However, there has been growing resistance to what some see as a potentially endless series of booster doses against a virus that does not cause severe illness in most people.
When the FDA approved the second booster dose last month, they did so at the behest of the vaccine manufacturers and without much scientific evidence to back up the need for another booster.
Some noted medical researchers say they are even less evidence to suggest yet another booster is needed for otherwise healthy adults and children.
The New York Times noted multiple studies have shown the majority of those already vaccinated remain well protected from severe illness, even if they have not received a booster dose and even amidst multiple variants of the virus that are more transmissible.
University of Washington immunologist Marion Pepper was concerned about the short-lived nature of the booster doses, telling The Times, "If it’s not going to create a long-term, better quality immune response, then you question the value a little bit."
Yet even the researchers who are questioning the need for mass boosting of the general population say there are exceptions.
The elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and people with compromised immune systems could all benefit from the extra protection of a third or fourth vaccine dose, even if the benefits are short-lived.
In New Jersey, more than 6.8 million individuals have completed their primary vaccination course. Fewer than half that number have received a booster dose. It is estimated that fewer still would return for a fourth dose