September 24, 2021 | The New York Times

Biden Promised to Follow the Science. But Sometimes, He Gets Ahead of the Experts.

From The New York Times:

On Thursday, a panel of immunization experts voted to recommend boosters for older adults and those with underlying health issues. But it advised against allowing frontline workers like teachers and nurses who have already been vaccinated to get a booster shot.

In a decision announced early Friday morning, Dr. Walensky rejected that last recommendation and said that the C.D.C. would allow the frontline workers to receive boosters. In a briefing for reporters later on Friday, she defended the move, noting that the panel was sharply divided on the issue.

“Our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom, and I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation,” Dr. Walensky said, calling it “a first step” and saying that “we will continue to review new data on effectiveness and experience with the third shot, as it becomes available.”

Dr. Steven Joffe, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said that with such a close vote at the C.D.C.’s meeting, it was reasonable for Dr. Walensky to rule a different way. But he suggested that she could have been influenced by the support she and the administration had earlier shown for a broader distribution of the booster.

“To what extent did she feel like she was bound to follow that line of decision-making?” he said. “I can’t get inside her head and answer that question. The fact that the final decision makers had already staked out their final positions had put the advisory committees in a very difficult position.”

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