Biden calls for third party vaccination: "Get the booster"

Photo by Towfiqu BarbhuiyaA large-scale campaign for Corona booster vaccinations has begun in the USA. U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday that some 20 million adults are now eligible for a third vaccination with BioNTech/Pfizer's vaccine. "Get the booster," the president said at the White House. Earlier, the head of the public health agency CDC put her foot down in the dispute over which populations are entitled to the booster vaccine.

The CDC will henceforth recommend a third vaccination for all people 65 and older, for people at increased risk for serious illness and for workers in occupations with a high risk of infection, such as health care workers and teachers. It is possible to receive the additional vaccine dose six months after the second dose.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday had approved the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for booster vaccination in these populations. But who actually gets access to the third vaccine dose was then up to the CDC to decide. A CDC panel of experts still voted nine to six Thursday against including workers in occupations with a high risk of infection in the booster campaign. The debate reflects divided expert opinion on whether booster shots make sense for younger people.

The final say now lay with CDC chief Rochelle Walensky. In a rare move, she overrode the recommendation of her agency's experts and endorsed the FDA's view. "In a pandemic, even if there is uncertainty, we must take steps that we believe will lead to the greatest public good," Walensky said.

As things stand, this means that around 20 million people are entitled to the third vaccination. In the coming weeks, the number will rise to 60 million, as more and more people will have had their second vaccination at least six months ago. Health officials had already approved a third Corona vaccine dose for people with weakened immune systems in August.

There is not yet a recommendation for a booster vaccination with the vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which are also used in the United States. President Biden had actually wanted to start the booster campaign last Monday - with the vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna.

The president said Friday that the booster vaccine offers "the highest level of protection currently available." He said he, too, will soon get a booster vaccination.

WHO calls for vaccination of poorer countries first

Biden also renewed his appeal to previously unvaccinated people to get vaccinated. "This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated," the president warned again. More than 70 million people eligible for vaccination have not yet been vaccinated, he said. They would "do a lot of damage" in the U.S., such as overloading hospitals in the event of illness. According to Walensky's data, the U.S. continues to average about 120,000 new covid infections and nearly 2,000 deaths per day.

The issue of booster vaccination is controversial. Proponents of a third vaccination argue that an additional vaccination dose increases protection against infection with the coronavirus, especially in view of the spread of the delta variant. Opponents of booster vaccination, on the other hand, state that two doses of vaccination would already provide sufficient protection. They also argue that the focus should be on vaccinating unvaccinated people - in the U.S., but also in developing countries where there is a shortage of vaccines.

In Germany, people in need of care, those over 80, and people with immune deficiencies are sometimes already offered a third vaccination. The Standing Commission on Vaccination has so far not advocated general booster vaccinations for seniors - but has recommended a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine for people with immunodeficiency. The WHO had already called for a temporary halt to such vaccinations in early August, as long as many poorer countries are still waiting for vaccine doses. Several researchers had also recently expressed doubts about booster vaccinations for all. The still limited number of vaccine doses worldwide could save most lives if they benefited people who are at significant risk of serious illness and are still unvaccinated.

The issue of booster vaccination is controversial. Proponents of a third vaccination argue that an additional vaccination dose increases protection against infection with the coronavirus, especially in view of the spread of the delta variant. Opponents of booster vaccination, on the other hand, state that two doses of vaccination would already provide sufficient protection. They also argue that the focus should be on vaccinating unvaccinated people - in the U.S., but also in developing countries where there is a shortage of vaccines.

In Germany, people in need of care, those over 80, and people with immune deficiencies are sometimes already offered a third vaccination. The Standing Commission on Vaccination has so far not advocated general booster vaccinations for seniors - but has recommended a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine for people with immunodeficiency. The WHO had already called for a temporary halt to such vaccinations in early August, as long as many poorer countries are still waiting for vaccine doses. Several researchers had also recently expressed doubts about booster vaccinations for all. The still limited number of vaccine doses worldwide could save most lives if they benefited people who are at significant risk of serious illness and are still unvaccinated.



Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya

 


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