According to a document published by a group of more than a dozen specialists, including two FDA vaccine officials who will be stepping down from their positions later this year, there is currently insufficient evidence to warrant delivering COVID-19 booster injections to the general public.
An advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration will review Pfizer data and consider whether to recommend a booster vaccine for members of the public who have already received a full vaccination. The paper was published in the medical journal Lancet just days before a high-profile meeting of the agency.
When asked if the COVID-19 booster doses would be implemented, President Joe Biden stated that it would happen during the week of September 20, 2021, if regulators approve the vaccines. However, according to the report published by the scientists on Monday, certain specialists, including Marion Gruber and Phil Krause, two FDA scientists who are leaving the agency as a result of the politicization of boosters, are not now in support of the additional doses.
“The vaccines that are currently available are safe, effective, and save lives. The limited supply of these vaccines will save the most lives if made available to people who are at appreciable risk of serious disease and have not yet received any vaccine,” wrote the group.
While the “efficacy of most vaccinations against symptomatic diseases is somewhat weaker for the delta variation than for the alpha version,” the scientists asserted in another section of the 4-page article that “vaccine efficacy against both symptomatic and severe disease related to delta is nevertheless high.” Because of this, current evidence does not appear to support the necessity for an increase in the general population, where efficacy against the severe disease remains high.
They later wrote, “Careful and public scrutiny of the evolving data will be needed to assure that decisions about boosting are informed by reliable science more than politics.”
They concluded that boosters may be necessary for some individuals, such as the immunocompromised, and may still “ultimately be needed in the general population” at a later time.