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The data show third-party shots “not suitable” at this time, scientists say

A pharmacist administers a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a customer at a pharmacy in Livonia, Michigan, United States, on Tuesday, August 17, 2021.

Emily Elconin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An expert review of scientific evidence to date has concluded that Covid-19 vaccine-enhancing vaccines are not necessary at this time for the general public, a group of U.S. and international scientists said Monday in The Lancet newspaper.

The conclusion from the scientists, including two senior officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, came as studies continue to show that Covid vaccines authorized in the United States remain very much the same. effective against serious diseases and hospitalization caused by the rapidly spreading delta variant.

While the effectiveness of Covid vaccination against minor diseases may decline over time, protection against serious diseases may persist, scientists say. That’s because the body’s immune system is complex, they said, and has other defenses in addition to antibodies that can protect someone from being seriously ill.

“The current evidence does not seem, therefore, to demonstrate the need for reinforcement in the general population, in which the effectiveness against serious diseases remains high,” the scientists wrote, adding that the wide distribution of boosters is not not “appropriate at this stage of the pandemic.”

They recognize that cooling shots may eventually be necessary for the general population if vaccine-induced immunity decreases even further or a new variant emerges that may elude the protection from shocks.

They say there are risks to the distribution of boosters too soon, including the potential for side effects such as a rare inflammation of the heart known as myocarditis, which is more common after the second dose of mRNA vaccines.

“If an unnecessary increase causes significant adverse reactions, there may be implications for the acceptance of vaccines that go beyond COVID-19 vaccines,” they wrote.

Shares of vaccine manufacturer Covid BioNTech have been up more than 5% in intraday trading.

Comments come a week before the Biden administration says it plans to start offering Covid booster vaccines to the general public. An FDA advisory group met Friday to discuss the data to support the widespread use of boosters.

The administration last month cited three new studies, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that show that the protection of vaccines against Covid has been declining for several months. The administration’s plan, explained by senior health officials, requires a third dose eight months after people receive their second shot of the Pfizer or Modern vaccine.

Scientists and other health experts have repeatedly criticized the plan, saying the data from cited federal health officials were unconvincing, characterizing the administration’s push for boosters as premature.

Scientists from The Lancet magazine published Monday include Marion Gruber, director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccine Research and Review, and assistant director Phil Krause. Both officials left the FDA this year after they were frustrated by the agency’s decision to support the enforcement coups.

Scientists say the booster could be approved for some individuals, such as those with weakened immune systems, who do not produce an adequate immune response after receiving two doses of a vaccine.

Federal health officials last month authorized reinforcement shots for such people, including cancer and HIV patients or those who have had organ transplants.


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