There is no evidence that the general population needs COVID-19 vaccine booster doses, according to an international group of vaccine specialists that includes officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
If booster doses are given too soon, the authors caution, they may induce additional side effects in the general population, such as myocarditis or Guillain-Barré syndrome. According to the experts, if this happens, vaccine adoption in the general public will suffer considerably more.
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Marion Gruber and Phil Krause, two top FDA officials in charge of regulating and authorizing vaccines, co-authored the report, which was published Sept. 13 in The Lancet medical journal. Both Gruber and Krause are expected to leave the FDA in the coming weeks, according to an announcement made by the agency two weeks ago.
The authors of the Lancet report claim that COVID-19 vaccinations are effective against severe COVID-19 cases and symptoms. The Delta variant’s protection against symptomatic infection has decreased, according to the researchers.
“Current research does not… appear to suggest a need for boosting in the general population, where efficacy against severe disease remains high,” they noted.
“Even if boosting were later proved to reduce the medium-term risk of serious disease,” the authors wrote, “current vaccination stocks could save more lives if administered in previously unvaccinated populations.”
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They emphasized that booster doses could cause more negative side effects in the general population, which is a poorly understood occurrence.
“There could be risks if boosters are widely introduced too soon or too frequently, especially with vaccines that can have immune-mediated side effects (such as myocarditis, which is more common after the second dose of some mRNA vaccines, or Guillain-Barré syndrome, which has been linked to adenovirus-vectored COVID-19 vaccines),” according to the study.
“There could be ramifications for vaccination uptake that transcend beyond COVID-19 vaccines,” the scientists added, if “unnecessary boosting generates significant adverse reactions” like the aforementioned side-effects.
In recent days, the WHO has asked wealthier countries to refrain from making, distributing, or demanding COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. Last Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged these countries, including the United States, to postpone the development of booster vaccines until 2021.
“I will not remain silent when firms and nations that control global vaccination supplies believe the world’s poor should be content with leftovers,” he said at a news conference on Sept. 8.
“Low-income countries have been robbed of the instruments to safeguard their people because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obligated to complete bilateral arrangements with wealthier countries prepared to pay top dollar.”
Meanwhile, neither Gruber nor Krause, the chief of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review, have published statements explaining why they are leaving the agency.
Gruber is leaving on Oct. 31, according to a message written by FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks in August. Krause is expected to leave in November, according to the memo. Marks will continue to lead the Office of Vaccines Research and Review in the meanwhile.
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The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.