CDC booster shot review delayed amid debate over necessity

The CDC has pushed back its advisory panel meeting to discuss COVID-19 booster shots for the general population by one week, as medical professionals are split over whether the shots are necessary, Bloomberg reported Aug. 19. 

The CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices originally was set to meet Aug. 24 to discuss the need for booster shots and possibly make a formal recommendation but will now convene over two days starting Aug. 30. 

The Biden administration said Aug. 18 it will allow fully vaccinated people to get a third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 shot eight months after their second dose beginning Sept. 20. But authorization from both the FDA and CDC is needed before the U.S. can distribute the doses. 

Medical experts are divided over whether third doses are necessary, and the World Health Organization has called for richer countries to hold off on giving third doses until less vaccinated countries catch up, Bloomberg reported. 

Some scientists have argued that the Biden administration's announcement is based on weak evidence and may undercut confidence in the vaccines, Kaiser Health News reported. Some say more information is needed on potential side effects or adverse effects from third doses. 

"I think we've scared people," Paul Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told Kaiser Health News. "We sent a terrible message. We just sent a message out there that people who consider themselves fully vaccinated were not fully vaccinated. And that’s the wrong message, because you are protected against serious illness."

Grace Lee, MD, chair of the CDC's advisory committee, told Bloomberg: "The data are coming in rapidly, and we want to make sure we follow our process for review and to ensure we can have a robust deliberation at the next open meeting."


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