Vaccine expert says data does not yet show a need for Covid-19 boosters

The data available does not yet show a need for Covid-19 booster doses in the US, and the focus should be more on initial vaccinations than booster doses, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, said Tuesday

“I think we will cross the line, where we know we need a booster dose, when people who are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, nonetheless, are hospitalized or in the ICU or dying,” Offit said in a conversation hosted by Brown University. “That’s where the line gets crossed for me. We’re not there yet. We’re not and I, hopefully the CDC is carefully looking at these data because that’s what you need to know.”

Offit said while San Francisco has moved forward on offering an additional dose to those who got a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine, “I don’t see any evidence that you need to do that.” 

“This discussion of boosters is just a little off the point. The problem is going to be is not boosting people who’ve already been vaccinated the problem in this country is that the people who haven’t been vaccinated, that’s where we need to focus our efforts, all our efforts, I feel.”

Offit also spoke briefly about the upcoming meeting of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, of which he is a member. The committee is set to meet to discuss booster doses in the immunocompromised. 

Offit said Friday’s discussion will likely conclude that immunocompromised people are the ones dependent on the “herd” of vaccinated people. 

“I mean, the worst thing an anti-vaccine person says, is they say, ‘What do you care what I do? You’re vaccinated.’ which makes two incorrect assumptions. One, the vaccines are 100% effective, which is true of no vaccine, and two, that everybody can get vaccinated when they can’t.”


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