September 3, 2021 | The New York Times
Health Officials Advise White House to Scale Back Booster Plan for Now
From The New York Times:
Top federal health officials have told the White House to scale back a plan to offer coronavirus booster shots to the general public this month, saying that regulators need more time to collect and review all the necessary data, according to people familiar with the discussion.
Mr. Biden cast the strategy as another tool that the nation needed to battle the highly contagious Delta variant, which has driven up infection rates, swamped hospitals with Covid-19 patients and led to an average of more than 1,500 deaths a day for the past week, according to a New York Times database. “The plan is for every adult to get a booster shot eight months after you got your second shot,” he said on Aug. 18, adding: “It will make you safer, and for longer. And it will help us end the pandemic faster.”
But the announcement of a late September target date for starting the booster campaign set off alarm bells inside the F.D.A. — apparently playing a role in decisions by two of its top vaccine regulators, announced this week, to leave the agency this fall.
Both Dr. Woodcock and Dr. Walensky helped draft the plan and publicly endorsed it. Some public health experts have said that by doing so, they increased pressure on scientists weighing the evidence for boosters in their respective agencies to go along with the administration’s strategy.
“Now those agencies are in a box,” said Dr. Steven Joffe, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania. “We want doctors and scientists and the public to trust in the recommendations and decisions that are made, to be able to point to the F.D.A. and C.D.C. doing their due diligence.”