Researchers warn that scientific evidence doesn't booster Covid shots, even for the delta variant
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A team of researchers said there is not evidence to support booster campaigns at the moment.Getty ImagesKey FactsThough vaccines are somewhat less effective at preventing symptomatic disease caused by the delta coronavirus variant, studies consistently demonstrate strong protection against severe and symptomatic illness, the researchers said.
With this in mind, the available evidence does not support boosters for the general population, the researchers said, adding that touted indicators of waning immunity (such as falling antibody levels) do not necessarily point to the vaccine becoming less effective over time.
The researchers, who included experts from the Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization, warned that unnecessary calls for booster shots have “implications for vaccine acceptance that go beyond Covid-19 vaccines,” undermining vaccine confidence and public health messaging on the value of getting vaccinated, particularly if boosters are only used for one type of vaccine. headtopics.com
There is also the potential for “significant adverse reactions” if boosters are administered too soon or used too frequently—the researchers noted the small risk of myocarditis, which is more common after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine—the researchers said, which could further undermine confidence in vaccines.
As well as not being backed up by available scientific evidence, the researchers said the limited supply of vaccines would be able to save more lives if used in people who had not received a vaccine yet, noting that “even if some gain can ultimately be gained from boosting, it will not outweigh the benefits” of protecting the unvaccinated.
TangentWhile some highly vaccinated regions, including the U.S., are battling severe Covid-19 outbreaks, the researchers emphasize the fact that “the unvaccinated are still the major drivers of transmission and themselves at the highest risk of serious disease.” Though the growing proportion of breakthrough cases may be rising, they note this would be expected even if there was no drop in vaccine efficacy due to the changing behaviors of the fully vaccinated and the greater proportion of the population made up by vaccinated people.
Crucial Quote“Taken as a whole, the currently available studies do not provide credible evidence of substantially declining protection against severe disease, which is the primary goal of vaccination,” said the paper’s lead author and WHO researcher Dr. Ana-Maria Henao-Restrepo. Henao-Restrepo said the limited stock of vaccines will “save the most lives” if made available to people who have not yet received any vaccine at all. headtopics.com
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Mass Shootings Soared During Pandemic — And Researchers Think Covid Stress Could Be To BlameI am a London-based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news. Previously, I have worked as a reporter for a specialist legal publication covering big data and as a freelance journalist and policy analyst covering science, tech and health. I have a master’s degree in Biological Natural Sciences and a master’s degree in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. Follow me on Twitter theroberthart or email me at rhartforbes.com
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