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The Westfield Voice

President Biden announces covid vaccine booster plan


Back in late August, President Joe Biden announced to the nation that a vaccine booster plan would begin rollout on September 20th, pushing against the advice of health officials at the World Health Organization (WHO)

Since the authorization for public use of COVID-19 vaccines last December, multiple academic studies have concluded the effectiveness of vaccines declines as time progresses, hence the support of a booster. More vaccines mean more immunity means fewer cases.

However, for much of the summer, WHO leadership has advocated against “the third dose”. As the vaccination rates rise across the U.S., E.U., and China, the global south has faced incredible difficulty providing enough vaccines for its citizens. African, Middle American, and Eastern European nations, in particular, have some of the lowest vaccination rates on the planet.

To WHO, there are two issues with approving the booster:

  1. An ethical problem: Why should the world’s richest countries begin giving out third and fourth doses, when the world’s poorer countries are still suffering with only a fraction of their population having a single dose?
  2. A practical problem: Areas of low immunity are variant generators. Every new infection creates a new opportunity for the virus to mutate, become more fatal, and potentially resist vaccine-created antibodies. Thus, the longer more people are unvaccinated, the more everyone else (even vaccinated individuals) are put at risk.

By encouraging boosters, governments around the world pull resources away from the already arduous task of producing and distributing vaccines to the Earth’s most at-risk citizens.

However, the United States Food and Drug Administration has recently ruled against the international agency’s advice, opting to permit a booster vaccine with an emergency-use authorization. All U.S. citizens above the age of 65, above 18 and immunocompromised, or above 18 and working in high-risk frontline positions (healthcare workers, teachers, grocery store clerks, etc.) are eligible for a third shot of the Pfizer 6 months after their 2nd dose. 

Further research on the necessity of the booster for the rest of the population needs to be conducted before the authorization is extended to the general populace.

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