A small percentage of Americans got the most recent covid-19 booster shot, and even fewer probably realize the federal government is preparing to recommend yet another shot as early as Tuesday.
Until a week or two ago, William Schaffner read that indifference as a sign the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should advocate vaccinating only those most at risk from the virus.
But then Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, changed his mind.
Members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices won him over to the argument that the vaccine be recommended for all Americans above 6 months of age, he said in an interview. The committee, which sets U.S. vaccination policy and helps determine insurance coverage for vaccines, will vote on the question Tuesday as it weighs the benefits of updated vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax.
Not all vaccine experts see it quite as Schaffner, a nonvoting liaison representative to the ACIP, does.
“I don’t plan to get it myself,” said Paul Offit, 72, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He’s had two boosters and got covid last year. Another vaccine might increase his protection against mild infection for a few months, but like most Americans’ immune systems, his is already familiar enough with the virus …