The US is about to start its controversial Covid booster campaign


MIT Technology Review

Disagreements: Booster shots are controversial. A group of top scientists, including experts from the FDA and WHO, published a report in The Lancet Monday in which they argued that booster injections were unnecessary because vaccines are still very effective at preventing serious illness and death. In addition, vaccines could save more lives if used on unvaccinated people rather than as a booster for the vaccinated. It is for this reason that WHO has asked rich countries to stop distributing them until more people in the world are vaccinated.

Unequal distribution: The US joins the UK, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany and Israel, which have also launched booster programs. In the UK, for example, the introduction of booster vaccinations for all over 50s is about to begin after officials gave the go-ahead last week. Less than 4% of the African population is now fully vaccinated compared to 70% of adults in the EU. In the US, it’s 55%, a number that has persistently not moved much in the past few weeks. Earlier this week, President Biden announced that the US would buy an additional 500 million doses of vaccine for distribution in other parts of the world, bringing its total exposure to more than 1 billion.

S.crawl: Millions of Americans will likely try to get a third shot. A YouGov poll this summer found that three in five Americans vaccinated get one when it is available. Given the chaotic nature of the U.S. vaccine rollout, it will be hard to prevent people from playing the system to get a third vaccination, even if they aren’t technically authorized.

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