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The Administration's Booster Shot Clusterfark Has Real-World Consequences

(AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Are you eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot? You probably don’t know or aren’t sure, which puts you in the same company as the rest of us. Indeed, the changing guidelines on who should get a booster shot have been so confusing and unhelpful that health care clinics are scrambling to make sense of them.

Washington Post:

Administrators at the Primary Health Medical Group updated their website Thursday and then set about revising it Friday when government eligibility recommendationsfor boosters suddenly changed to include workers in high-risk jobs. Even then, the clinic’s chief executive had to figure out which occupations that meant.

“Who’s at high risk? I had to look it up. Is it firemen? I don’t know,” said David Peterman. “This is so confusing to the public and creates mistrust. And we can’t have that right now. Right now, we need the public to say, ‘Let’s get vaccinated.’ And for those that need boosters, we need to say that ‘this is safe, and this is what we need to do.’”

This sort of government incompetence is what we’ve come to expect during the pandemic. Of course, it didn’t help when the president announced that everyone should get a booster shot regardless of age or physical condition. That presidential order was shot down by the FDA, which worried about vaccine supply. Then the CDC stepped into the fray, saying that only the immunocompromised should get a booster.

Related: It Looks Like Fauci Was Wrong About COVID Booster Shots Too

It’s all very confusing. And it shouldn’t be.

Much of the muddle stems from legacy systems at the FDA and CDC that were set up to handle routine drug approvals and childhood vaccinations, not a fast-moving public health crisis involving the entire population, said Jay A. Winsten, founding director of the Center for Health Communications at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices includes infectious-disease specialists, obstetricians and pediatricians who grappled Thursday with questions they have no expertise in, such as whether offering boosters might undermine public confidence in the vaccines’ efficacy.

“What’s missing from the equation are communication experts,” said Winsten, including specialists in public-opinion polling and behavior change. “They need a seat at the table.”

Sure. Let’s give PR flaks and pollsters the responsibility and let them take the heat. What could go wrong?

This is the kind of “competent leadership” that Biden promised during the campaign? It’s a clusterfark from beginning to end, top to bottom. It’s not “following the science” to allow changes to the guidelines made by people not qualified to make any decision at all about the efficacy of booster shots.

Fox News:

CDC director Rochelle Walensky broke with her vaccine advisory panel late Thursday to endorse younger at-risk people returning to work to get the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot — a rare move that goes against the panel’s recommendation.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices panel voted that young workers not get the booster and that it be given only to Americans over 65 and those over 50 with underlying medical conditions.

The move illustrates the discord ringing between the Biden administration higher-ups, such as Walensky, and the advisory panel that recommends a course of action based on available scientific data.

Why have an Advisory Committee in the first place if you’re not going to follow its recommendations?

What a mess.