This data has reportedly provided the White House COVID-19 team with compelling evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine becomes less effective over time, unnamed officials told. POLITICS.
The Israeli findings are “more comprehensive and alarming” than US data, the officials say.
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told POLITICO the data provided ample evidence “that you would be impressed.”
But since this data is not yet public, many American scientists and public health experts are still not convinced that booster shots are necessary for the entire population.
Biden administration officials support planned rollout of vaccine booster shots with unpublished data from Israel, POLITICO reports. Pictured: Dr. Rocelle Walensky (CDC Director) and Dr. Anthony Fauci testifying before the Senate, July 2021
About 63 percent of U.S. adults have been vaccinated to date, and many will soon be eligible for booster shots if the Biden administration follows its planned September rollout
Booster shots – third doses of Covid vaccines – have been a major source of discussion for the US scientific community in recent weeks.
In late August, the Biden administration announced that eight months after their second vaccinations would be available to all Americans who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The booster shot rollout will begin on September 20 — though President Joe Biden has promised that this rollout won’t begin until the appropriate federal agencies approve.
The potential rollout has sparked tensions with those agencies — the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Leaders of both agencies have argued that booster shots are not yet necessary for all Americans.
Two FDA officials – Dr. Marion Gruber and Dr. Philip Krause – have even announced their intention to step down after the booster shot announcement.
Those two experts, along with 16 other senior FDA officials, co-created a report recently published in The Lancet stating that there is currently no evidence of booster shots.
Even if boosting were shown to ultimately reduce the risk of serious disease in the medium term, current vaccine stocks could save more lives if used in previously unvaccinated populations than if used as boosters in vaccinated populations. the authors of Lancet.
But the White House’s Covid team reportedly has access to data showing booster shots are needed to reduce the risk of serious illness, POLITICO said.
This data – which is not yet available to the general public – comes from research in Israel.
The Israeli findings reportedly show that “the ability of the Pfizer vaccine to prevent serious illness and hospitalization declines over time,” according to two government sources who spoke to POLITICO.
Fauci said he found the data on the efficacy of the Israeli vaccine impressive. Pictured: Fauci in May 2021
Israel has been a source of vaccine efficacy data throughout 2021 as the country has an earlier and faster rollout than the US
Also, unlike other countries, the US has not fully tracked breakthrough cases except those leading to hospitalization or death.
Israel is one of the first countries to give booster shots, which started with residents 60 and older in July and now includes residents over 30.
The US booster shot plan may follow a similar trajectory.
The CDC has published some studies suggesting that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are less able to protect recipients from infection over time, suggesting that there may be a need for boosters.
a study published on September 10 found that vaccine effectiveness against infection dropped from 91 percent to 78 percent during the Delta peak.
But according to POLITICO, the Israeli data is “more comprehensive and alarming.”
During the Delta wave, Covid vaccines have become less effective at protecting Americans from infection, CDC analysis suggests
Fauci said these unpublished data show that the vaccines are becoming less effective to an extent that “you would be impressed.”
“I would be surprised if the US data ends up not being very similar to the Israeli data,” Fauci told POLITICO.
The new data will reportedly be released soon, possibly later this week.
However, based on current public information, many scientists remain skeptical that widespread booster shots are needed in the U.S.
For example, physician and Covid commentator Dr Eric Topol has argued that boosters should be: provided to adults over 60 – not for all Americans.
Many experts are currently arguing that the US government should instead prioritize sending vaccine doses to other countries, where the majority of the population has not yet received a single shot.
The Biden administration says the government can push for booster shots domestically and vaccinations abroad at the same time.