A top vaccine expert and pediatric doctor is cautioning parents of healthy young people to hold off getting the new COVID booster shot, saying it can carry risks and its efficacy hasn’t yet been proven.
Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, said he’s not fully sold on the benefits of a third shot outweighing the harm.
‘Who really benefits from another dose?’ Offit said on CNN.
He did acknowledge that studies have shown people who are over 65, immuno-compromised or have a chronic ailments are less likely to be hospitalized with the virus if they’ve had a third or even fourth shot.
The newly developed dose, called a bivalent vaccine, is a cocktail of the original coronavirus strain combined with parts of the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. The hope being that people would be able to fight a broader range of more highly contagious virus mutations.
But writing in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, Offitt said preliminary data suggested the new bivalent vaccines were actually worse at warding off COVID infections than the first generation of shots.
He highlighted data comparing Moderna’s original COVID vaccine and its new bivalent update. Of a test group given both shots, 11 people who’d received bivalent vaccines contracted the virus, while just five people who received the original ‘monovalent’ shot caught COVID.
Offit warned that the Biden administration that ‘overselling’ the new bivalent vaccines without more data could ‘erode the public’s trust’ in them.