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Arguments for and Against Boosters

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Arguments for and against boosters

Dr. John Campbell

Sep 19, 2021

81 million had Moderna or Johnson & Johnson

Editorials call for assessing the risks and benefits of this procedure (Krause, Fleming et al. 2021)

The rise of the delta variant of covid 19 with increased rates of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths ?? has led to the CDC considering recommending or mandating booster doses for vaccinated people. The booster injection is supposed to enhance immunity and, thereby, reduce covid 19 cases. The vaccine continues to be effective against severe disease including the delta variant.

The risks and benefits of booster injections needs to be assessed. Critics say the observational studies that provide data to assess this issue can be biased with confounding factors and selection bias.

It is important to allow science and not politics to interpret the evolving data on this issue.

Advocates for the unvaccinated people say that even if booster injections can be proven to be effective to decrease the risk of the disease, more lives can be saved if the vaccine supplies be used to treat the unvaccinated populations than used for boosters of the vaccinated populations. 

Boosters should be considered in the vaccinated population that are immunocompromised. Further assessment is needed to decide if this subgroup should have the same or a different vaccine as a booster.

Other indications for giving boosters are as follows. Waning immunity to the primary vaccination, new virus variants developing antigens that evade detection and protection from the immune response to the original virus antigens.

Lancet editorial writers feel the benefit of vaccine outweigh the risks. But they go on to say that the risks of using booster shots could outweigh the benefits if introduced too soon or too frequently.

The risks for certain vaccines of immune mediated complications such as myocarditis and Guillain Barre syndrome.

Vaccine efficacy and its durability have been studied by randomized controlled studies (RCTs) and observational studies. Some of these have been peer reviewed and others have not. The editorialist believe that there has been selection bias and inaccurate data in this mix of studies. Nonetless, importantant findings have emerged from these studies in their opinion. 

Krause, P. R., T. R. Fleming, R. Peto, I. M. Longini, J. P. Figueroa, J. A. C. Sterne, A. Cravioto, H. Rees, J. P. T. Higgins, I. Boutron, H. Pan, M. F. Gruber, N. Arora, F. Kazi, R. Gaspar, S. Swaminathan, M. J. Ryan and A.-M. Henao-Restrepo (2021). “Considerations in boosting COVID-19 vaccine immune responses.” The Lancet 398(10308): 1377-1380.

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