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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.76 minutes to read.

“An administration that champions science-based decision-making needs to mount a strong new effort to communicate clearly with the American people…

Overall, there’s a consensus that boosters may be wise for those with compromised immune systems and the elderly — they were the ones who got the early shots. But some experts have raised questions about whether a booster is necessary now for the general population.

One argument, advanced by the World Health Organization and others, is that added shots would be better utilized to meet global vaccine shortages, slowing the pandemic and the rise of new variants. We have disagreed that it is either/or; both boosters for Americans and expanded production abroad should be possible.

Another argument questions the interpretation of the reports on waning immunity. The reports generally document a weakening protection against infection, while the vaccines protect against severe disease, hospitalization and death. Thus, the argument goes, the vaccines are working against the worst outcomes. These experts say that some amount of continued infection is to be expected, and that the virus can never be eradicated…

Now, many are rightly wondering if they need a booster, or not. The administration should spell out clearly the science and reasoning behind the booster plan for the general population, including whether and how additional shots will provide longer and stronger immunity… The confusion should be cleared up quickly and persuasively.”

–Washington Post Editorial Board

“Starting Sept. 20, millions of Americans who received their second shot of either of the mRNA coronavirus vaccines at least eight months ago are supposed to become eligible for a third dose.

But America’s nascent booster campaign has a problem: When the Biden administration announced it last month, the idea of offering third doses hadn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration — and it still hasn’t. The timing of the decision drew criticism from some scientists

Some studies have suggested that people vaccinated many months ago have become more susceptible to infection. But it’s not clear whether the apparent effect owes to waning immunity or other confounding variables — the rise of the much more infectious Delta variant in June, for example, or the decline in mask wearing and increase in social activity that attended it…

Eventually, protection against infection is expected to wane. But that in itself would not necessarily justify additional doses… The immune system’s first line of defense against most pathogens naturally erodes over time; long-term immunity — the key measure of which is protection against severe disease and death, not infection — flows from the body’s ability to remember how to redeploy its many defenses…

The bottom line: When Biden announced the booster program, he said: “It will make you safer, and for longer. And it will help us end the pandemic faster.” But for immunocompetent people, federal health officials have said they do not have evidence to support those claims.”

–Spencer Bokat-Lindell, staff editor for the New York Times

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.79 minutes to read.

“The Biden administration’s plan to start rolling out Covid-19 booster shots next week has drawn criticism from some who claim there’s not enough evidence to show they’re needed. While breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated have increased, most of those cases aren’t severe. The purpose of vaccines, say booster critics, is to prevent hospitalizations and deaths, not cold-like symptoms.

But many fully vaccinated people in recent months have reported getting severely sick with Covid, though not to the point of needing hospitalization. Boosters should help reduce the number of such cases. They could also prevent people from experiencing certain complications that sometimes follow a severe case of Covid.

Covid doesn’t merely infect the lungs and respiratory tract. It can attack other organs, including the brain, if it isn’t quickly defeated by your immune system. At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in July, researchers reported an uptick in inflammatory biomarkers indicative of Alzheimer’s disease and brain injury in the blood of patients who had been hospitalized with Covid…

The growing evidence that a coronavirus infection that isn’t rapidly defeated by the immune system can seriously damage the brain and other organs argues in favor of expediting boosters, especially for older people who are at higher risk for both severe illness and dementia…

So far there’s no evidence to suggest that side effects from a third dose are greater than those from a second. Covid will never be eradicated, and we’ll have to learn to live with it. That’s why we need boosters.”

–Allysia Finley, Wall Street Journal editorial board member

“Two leading House Republicans, Reps. Steve Scalise and James Comer, are asking the Food and Drug Administration for documents that might relate to GOP suspicions that President Joe Biden has politicized the process of administering vaccines during the COVID pandemic…

Scalise and Comer point to Biden’s Aug. 18 announcement that vaccine booster shots would be available nationwide the week of Sept. 20… Within moments, a number of experts began to wonder whether Biden had jumped the gun. Indeed, he had; in fact, the president made the announcement before the vaccine makers had even submitted the needed data to the FDA…

That led to turmoil inside the agency, where, according to an Aug. 31 report in Politico, officials “scrambled to collect and analyze data that clearly demonstrate the boosters’ benefits before the administration’s Sept. 20 deadline for rolling them out to most adults.” In other words, the FDA raced to find something to support the president’s announcement…

The irony in this, of course, is that just last year, the Biden team was accusing then-President Donald Trump of politicizing the government’s response to COVID, particularly research on a vaccine…

So, now we have the FDA being pushed to approve a booster shot, without making sure that it is safe and effective, due to political pressure from President Biden and the White House. Congress needs to find out what happened.”

–Byron York, Washington Examiner