According to an international panel of vaccine experts, including representatives from the US FDA and the WHO, the existing data on Covid-19 vaccinations does not seem to support the need for booster doses in the general population at the moment.
Covid-19 Vaccinations Do Not Presently Indicate A Need For Boosting
As a result, the experts write in a new article posted Monday in the medical journal that current data does not seem to support the need for an increase in the general population, where effectiveness against severe illness remains high. Among the paper’s authors are Dr. Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, both of whom are top FDA vaccine officials who will be resigning in October, according to an announcement made by the FDA late last month.
No additional information was provided regarding their retirements, which prompted speculation about whether their departures would have an impact on the agency’s operations, which was never confirmed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as other public health authorities across the globe, are continuing to review data on the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine and the role that booster doses of the vaccine may play in increasing protection against the illness.
The scientists write in their new paper published in The Lancet that they reviewed randomized trials and epidemiological research on Covid-19 vaccines and found that they were consistently effective “The efficacy of vaccines against severe disease is significantly greater than that of vaccines against any other infection; in addition, immunization appears to be significantly protective against severe disease caused by all of the major viral variants.
In spite of the fact that the delta version’s effectiveness against symptomatic illness is somewhat reduced compared to that of the alpha variant, the delta variant is still associated with very high vaccination efficacy against both symptomatic as well as severe disease in most cases.”
The scientists point out that there is a window of opportunity right now to investigate variant-based boosters before it becomes a widespread demand for them in the future. However, they suggest in their article that the existing Covid-19 vaccine supply might “save more lives” if it were administered to individuals who have not yet received the vaccination rather than to people who have already had the vaccine. At the beginning of August, the WHO announced a ban on booster doses that would last until at least the end of October.
Despite the fact that vaccination effectiveness against symptomatic illness seems to be diminishing with time, the authors write in their article that “too far, none of these trials has produced convincing evidence of significantly decreasing protection against severe disease.” Individuals at high risk for severe illness who have not yet received a vaccination would benefit the most from the limited supply of these vaccines, which will save the most lives if made accessible to them. According to the experts, even if some advantage may be gained by boosting in the long run, it will not exceed the benefits of giving early protection to those who have not been vaccinated, according to their findings.