We Should Offer Boosters Every Six Months, Not Yearly

This week, FDA advisors will be meeting to discuss, among other things, if the COVID vaccine should be switched to a yearly schedule. I think this is a bad idea, and instead, we should give people the option to get boosted every six months.

The reality of our current COVID (non-)response is vaccination is the only mitigation strategy we have in the U.S. Unlike Davos attendees, most Americans have not experienced improvements in ventilation. Tests are still too expensive (in no small part due to the new White House Chief of Staff Zients), and many employers frankly don’t care if you test positive. Masking is non-existent in most places in the U.S. (and even actively discouraged in some places–because too many people are assholes). Meanwhile, we are not funding a Warp Speed 2.0 for either intranasal vaccines or vaccines that also contain nucleocapsid as an antigen.

So, like I said, vaccination is the sole prevention strategy. People can not afford to miss work for two to three weeks as the COVID safety net has been slashed, never mind what would happen if they contract long COVID. Others have caretaking responsibilities–and I doubt the FDA advisory board is going to pitch in and make some visits on your behalf.

To the extent a booster shot provides additional protection against infection (not just severe acute disease), even if only for a few months after the booster, the lived reality for many Americans is they need that protection as limited as it is because they have been abandoned.

You can’t make vaccination the centerpiece of your COVID (sort of) prevention strategy, and then not let people access it.

Unfortunately, the FDA advisors, throughout the entire pandemic, appear to have normative assumptions (what ought to be) that are massively out of sync with many Americans, so I’m preparing myself to be disappointed once again.

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