Vaccine booster push in West is not only greedy but self-sabotaging
Moral question aside, shots for already vaccinated people are a highly inefficient way of controlling Covid
A growing number of wealthy countries including Israel and Germany are now launching or making plans for Covid booster-shot initiatives for parts of their populations amid evidence of waning immunity among some of the vaccinated. That’s prompted the World Health Organisation to call for a moratorium on top-up shots until the end of September or until all countries are at least 10% vaccinated. In the US, boosters aren’t officially allowed, but people are going out and getting them on their own. The WHO has it right — the priority should be first vaccinations as long as supplies are limited and there’s a huge global disparity in protection.
Existing data suggest the vast majority of those who are vaccinated don’t need a booster yet. Rolling third doses out broadly at this point is an ethically questionable, potentially dangerous and ineffective way of fighting the pandemic.
The booster push is being fuelled by the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and evidence that it reduces vaccine protection that may already decline over time. But even if the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines against symptomatic infection with Delta is about 60% (which is a conservative guess given varied estimates from different countries), shots clearly still offer a substantial degree of protection against even mild disease. And they are holding up exceptionally well on the most crucial measures: protection against severe disease, death and hospitalisation...