Yet More Medically Bogus Covid Vaccine Profiteering: Requiring “Primary” Covid Shots to Get Omicron “Booster”

If you harbored any doubt, the latest Covid policy tidbit should convince you that US Covid policy has nothing to do with public health and everything to do with drug industry grifting and the desire of big business to pretend everything is fine so as to maximize their profits.

The case study is the eligibility policy for the long-promised, finally-about-to-be-launched variant-specific vaccines. Remember how one of the much-touted benefits of mRNA vaccines was the ease of modifying them, supposedly within weeks, to combat new variants? Yet the great unwashed public has been urged to get “boosters” as in repeats of the original formula, designed for the wild type of Covid, when the Omicron variants almost entirely escape the vaccine.1

But now….drumroll…we are finally about to get Omicron shots. But there’s a catch. From CNBC:

Newly updated Covid booster shots designed to target omicron’s BA.5 subvariant should be available within in the next three weeks. That begs an important question: Who’s going to be eligible to get them?

The short answer: anyone ages 12 and up who has completed a primary vaccination series, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson tells CNBC Make It. It’s unlikely to matter whether you’ve received any other booster doses or not before, the spokesperson says — but if you’re unvaccinated, you won’t be eligible for the updated formula until you complete a primary series with the existing Covid vaccines.

IM Doc was incensed:

If we need evidence of a massive fraud – look no further.

The moral of the story – only those with the initial vaxx series will be eligible for the Omicron boosters.

In decades of medical practice – this requirement to get the initial series has never been done. If so – we would be giving basically no flu shots.

And what scientific fraud this is……Explain to me what good this will do for any patient to be vaccinated against strains of virus that have been extinct for two years. I guess it really does not matter anyway for the vaxxed – the Omicron boosters will likely be largely against already extinct variants.

This is a naked play to get people to take the vaccines from 2 years ago so they do not have to throw them out.

This is not going to work. I am afraid those who are still unvaxxed will remain so. And stunts like this will just harden the situation further. I am assuming they no longer have an ethics department in either the FDA or the CDC.

IM Doc is right that there’s a financial angle, just not the one of making sure vaccines don’t get thrown out. Remember that Covid shots are still paid for by the government. Why sell one jab in the cases where you can force some patients to get two more?

Let us stress that this policy has no medical justification. Immunity of all sorts to a coronavirus is short-lived, so it’s not as if being previously vaccinated will make the Omicron shot more potent.

In fact, the example of flu vaccines suggests that more frequent vaccination can produce diminishing results. STAT and others reported on a 2015 study that found that kids who had not gotten a flu vaccine in the last five years and then got the jab had better protection that children vaccinated annually. Note that the write-up does not deny that the findings were valid. It’s just unable to explain them, since they are at odds with our understanding of immune responses. From STAT:

If you’ve been diligent about getting your flu shot every year, you may not want to read this. But a growing body of evidence indicates that more may not always be better.

The evidence, which is confounding some researchers, suggests that getting flu shots repeatedly can gradually reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines under some circumstances….

Dr. Edward Belongia is among the scientists who have seen the picture coming into focus. He and some colleagues at Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation reported recently that children who had been vaccinated annually over a number of years were more likely to contract the flu than kids who were only vaccinated in the season in which they were studied.

“The vaccine was significantly more effective … if they had not been vaccinated in the previous five years,” Belongia, an epidemiologist, recounted in a recent interview with STAT…

With many vaccines, an additional dose or two boosts the levels of antibodies in a person’s body. Some vaccines actually require multiple doses to be effective.

So the fact that repeated vaccination against flu might diminish rather than enhance the vaccine’s protection is perplexing.

It also represents a communications challenge for public health officials who vigorously promote annual vaccination as the most effective way to protect against the flu. Findings that suggest the science is more complicated than initially believed could lead people to assume annual flu shots are detrimental to their health.

So let’s return to the Omicron vaccines. There’s no reason to think that getting the original vaccines and then the Omicron shot will produce better immunity to Omicron than getting the Omicron shot all by itself.

So what is the point? To punish the great unwashed unvaccinated if they’ve had a change of heart and are willing to take an Omicron shot? To give the virtuous vaccinated preferred access and only then open it up to the unvaccinated? Whatever the logic here is, it’s not medical. It’s political and propagandistic.

GM responded to IM Doc:

Yes, indeed, and you are not the only one outraged. Never before has it been the case that you need to have had the flu vaccine previously to get the current formulation.

But I don’t think this is aimed at forcing people to take the vaccines from 2 years ago so they don’t have to throw them out.

The more parsimonious explanation is that they are simply trying to discourage vaccinations so that people get used to getting infected because for most people that third WT dose is the last they will ever get once vaccination is no longer paid for by the government and there are no more vaccination campaigns.

The Pfizer vaccines expire 12 months after manufacture. Over 80 million vaccine doses had been thrown out as of early summer. So it looks as if enthusiasm for them is waning. But putting bogus obstacles in the way of willing first-time users will only increase suspicion about the motives behind the Covid vaccine recommendations.


1 More specifically, having gotten two mRNA shots some time ago provides no immunity against Omicron. A fresh shot does provide protection, but for a comparatively short period of time. And the evidence is mounting that that comes at the cost of taxing the immune system enough that it makes patients more vulnerable to other infections, as well as more vulnerable to Covid down the road. Mind you, this topic is very much contested, but there is a decent amount of data and a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that the benefits of repeat vaccination against Omicron do not exceed the costs.

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  1. Ignacio

    They have defined this as a ‘booster’, so only for previously vaccinated.

    You know, there is this possibility that because of ‘capital antigenic sin’ or ‘original antigenic seniority’, OAS) (meaning this that previous vaccinations may introduce a bias in your immune system that may or may not make it more difficult for the new vaccine to elicit the proper response.

    Next is a conclusion of a short paper discussing this which I recommend reading:

    OAS is the double-edged sword of memory: it can provide an avenue to protection against a novel strain of a pathogen or create an obstacle to the elicitation of protective immunity. What this means for COVID-19 is yet to be fully determined, but this important consequence of the immense powers of immunological memory and specificity must be considered when assessing population-level immunity and vaccine efficacy.

    My guess is that no one has tried to see how OAS works with the new vaccines simply because they don’t want to risk the results they might obtain. Yet it could well be the case that BA.5 gives best results with unvaccinated (in two doses) and/or with people that was vaccinated more than a year ago and decided not to run for boosters.

    Another question is what is the ‘vaccine fatigue’ mentioned by Yves Smith [Unrelated with social vaccine fatigue observed with Covid].

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t mention “vaccine fatigue” here and I don’t think I have used that particular formulation elsewhere. What I have mentioned is the possibility that the Covid vaccines (as well as Covid itself) can produce what in layperson terms could be called “immune system fatigue” or “immune exhaustion”. This appeared to the the reason the European Medicines Agency was very cool on the idea of semi-annual Covid shots…which is the minimum you’d need to keep antibody levels from waning.

      My understanding is a big concern with getting Covid and potentially also with frequent Covid vaccination is overtaxing the T cells. As you know well, we only have so many; adults don’t make more. So depleting T cells can lead to a whole host of other problems, like higher rates of cancer (T cells also police abnormal cells), more risk of catching contagions, and autoimmune disorders.

      1. Ignacio

        Yes my bad, I should have referred to immune fatigue after repeated boosters rather than ‘vaccine fatigue”. It was what you commented above. I realised the term i used was confused so added the comment in brackets.

      2. chuck roast

        I developed a mild case psoriasis around 24. Not too unsightly…mostly annoying. I always put it down to being attacked by my own excess T-cells. Not an entirely bad thing, having an excess of T-cells.
        Around the time of my first J&J shot my psoriasis began disappearing. After my booster my psoriasis is mostly gone. Almost two years later it remains mostly gone. Now that I am well into geezerhood I’m wondering if I made the devil’s bargain…a possible mild case of Covid vs. heightened protection from the host of bugs that will certainly attack me.

          1. square coats

            Do you (or does anyone else) know if this is something more people with psoriasis have reported experiencing? My dad has psoriatic arthritis and starting a few years ago I was wondering if I was starting to develop scalp psoriasis (since these conditions have a good amount of heritability it’s something in the back of my mind), but for a long time now I haven’t noticed the same possible symptoms. I got j&j once and had done with it. My dad got either moderna or pfizer and at least one booster. If there’s any info out there (self-report / discussions on forums etc is fine, studies are good too) that someone could point me toward I’d be grateful to learn more.

            1. Terry Flynn

              Unfortunately don’t have the links to hand but covid and the Pfizer jabs have caused the OPPOSITE problem. My dermatologist and her boss (to whom I PAID PRIVATELY FOR 2ND OPINION) confirm psoriasis, eczema and PARTICULARLY alopecia (from which I’m suffering) are pretty much the major symptoms of long covid.

              I’m awaiting extensive scalp biopsy results. Surgeon showed me his OWN scar for same thing!

              I’ve also got host of other autoimmune condition flare ups.

            2. Alice X

              chuck roast’s report was the first I had heard of. I didn’t make the association until the comment. As is often said, anecdote is not data and I cannot make a direct link. I can say that my condition is in complete remission. It obviously would be something that could be researched.

  2. Basil Pesto

    If you thought war profiteering was gross, welcome to the era of pandemic profiteering. It’s hard not to despair.

  3. VietnamVet

    The US government publicly stated that pricing, coverage and payments for Covid-19 drugs and vaccines are being it is shifting to the commercial market. Yet, not for one second, have these administrators admitted that their devotion to corporate profits and kickbacks has killed over a million Americans. “Letting ‘er rip” – the no mitigation policy is the reason that COVID-19 remains in the top 4 leading causes of death in the USA. This is simply profiteering from death. Yes, this is no different than war profiteering.

    Public Health is dead in America unless there is a reformation, constitutional democracy is restored, and “corporations are people” rulings are overturned. Until then every person is on their own.

      1. flora

        This pharma schema seems very like the computer operating system/program world: If your computer/device isn’t running the immediate prior version, you can’t get the latest os software update. / ;)

      2. Objective Ace

        I’d love to wear that shirt while wearing an n95 mask. The looks and confusion when stopping at rest stops in rural West Virginia would be totally worth it! As of now I hear ppl whispering about “people still wearing masks”. Maybe get a “Lets Go Brandon” hat to complete the ensemble

    1. britzklieg

      JUST TO CLARIFY: my comment is in support of yours, northeaster, and not to be taken as a reproach.

  4. SocalJimObjects

    With how fast the virus is evolving, it’s possible that BA.5 will no longer exist by the time a currently unvaccinated person takes the primary series plus this new booster?

  5. Mucho

    Is there any data (or guess) at what range ‘immune system fatigue’ would set in? I’ve had two shots & one booster at the beginning of this year, caught Omikron in March. The pandemic strategy in my country – The Netherlands – is only to rely on boosters, coming september being the next round for the general population..

    1. Objective Ace

      Based on the behavior of Israel (and to a lessor extent elsewhere) the reluctance to advocate for a 5th booster — despite strong pressure to get prior boosters — suggests at least around the 4th booster.

      In all likelihood any booster and/or getting Covid likely contributes to some “immune system fatigue”. Repeated shots/cases just compounds it. And the timing probably matters too. There’s a big difference between getting 2 or 3 over 2 years vs. 3-6 months. I believe there were some studies — at least for contracting Covid that T-cells somewhat recovered over time

  6. ambrit

    This looks to be nothing less than a naked power play. Essentially, the Establishment, and here, I contend, this old term is exactly the proper one to use, has asserted the right to demand obedience from the population with death being the punishment for non-compliance. This principal, once established, will be extended into other spheres of Terran human endeavour.
    The precedent is the point here, not public health.
    Others have observed that this “vaccine” roll out is the Third Stage Trials of the mRNA “vaccine” methodology. Few if any have mentioned that failure, and on a grand scale, is a distinct possibility. For a biological intervention, ‘failure’ can be defined as the death of the experimental subjects. Slow death or quick death, either way, average lifespan is diminishing. We are now seeing the reversal of the Twentieth Century “Medical Miracle.”
    As for the “unvaxxed” status of many here, (Phyl and I being in that cohort,) I see the mandates as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in a social control program. Even now, Canada, that land of rugged individualists and social cohesion, is mandating that one be “vaccinated” against the coronavirus to enter that country. It’s a shame. Phyl and I have always wanted to take the train from Montreal to Vancouver. Now, even if we had the funds, we couldn’t.
    One of my brothers-in-law is a copper in the Midwest. He had a tee shirt that said; “No Officer. I will not come quietly.” That’s where ‘things’ stand now in the Americas.
    Stay safe.

  7. voislav

    It’s appropriate that the Links have Eric Topol’s analysis which points out that there is a real danger of reduced booster efficiency due to possibility of imprinting, which I assume would be highest with recently vaccinated people. So this measure would be contrary to what we know about viruses and immunity.

  8. Mikel

    And they slow walk all the available nasal vaccines coming on the market.

    From some of the concerns expressed about excessive mRNA shots, a variation in therapuetic shots and vaccines seems like it would be in order at this point.

    I’m in the camp of highly suspicious of these kind of BS requirements to dish out more non-sterilizing, gene therapies. It’s shameless greed and inability to admit grievous error.

    1. Terry Flynn

      As some may know, given my background in medical statistics, I watch this stuff like a hawk. Unfortunately, just like NC, I’ve been frustrated by the lack of proper trials and often have had to resort to weaker evidence.

      NC reported in last day or so about mRNA problems in kids. Anecdata from 10-15 clinicians (some in oncology where I used to work, some in a rheumatology trial I participated in) at my local hospital ALL reported something I experienced but discounted (being the “good evidence based aware of stuff person” I thought I was) – we got the AZ jabx2 without incident. Then the booster was the Pfizer one. No choice. We all got ill. Not enough to go “nasty vaccines actually gave us COVID”…… BUT enough to lay us low for multiple days – I for one felt that this was my 2nd COVID infection. Several biochemists in the trial said they’d refuse all mRNA boosters in future….. And these are NOT anti-vaxxers by any stretch of the imagination. Immunogenetics are their field.

      I have known this for a while but didn’t report….. I don’t like criticizing vaccines. But when specialists say point blank any boosters should be more AZ or other “traditional” non-spike protein ones then I prick up my ears.

  9. rainlover

    This (no Omicron shot without taking the initial mRNA series first) tracks with my experience in trying to obtain the covid prophylactic shots (Evusheld) recommended by my doctor for cancer patients. I was initially told I could not get Evusheld without being fully vaccinated AND boosted (four shots). And that wasn’t going to happen. I need my t-cells. When I mentioned that to my current doctor, she said that was ridiculous and wrote a letter to the county health people waiving the shot requirements. Thank goodness there are still some docs out there with common sense.

  10. LAS

    I suspect a practical reason for the policy. Boosters use only about 20% of the initial vaccine. They may not have enough of the new omicron version this fall to deploy it as initial vaccine while also boosting people. If this is the case and I think it most likely is … then I think the policy a good idea. The vaccinators can boost 5 people for each 1 person getting a first vaccine at a time when there is likely a shortage of the new vaccine.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      The logic doesn’t hold. The Omicron specific vaccine can only be looked at as a new vaccine entirely. Therefore, it would not be considered a booster of a prior vaccine. If the CDC is using that as their reason for requiting prior vaccine shots in order to get the Omicron specific shot their reasoning is flawed.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      That is false re the “boosters”. The only one that is lower is Moderna, which was a MUCH stronger formulation. And it was not 20% either:

      The Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation and the same dose as the primary COVID-19 vaccine series. However, the Moderna booster shot is half the dose of the vaccine than the initial series.

      Making Shit Up is a violation of our written site Policies. My time is better spent on new posts than having to correct misinformation in comments. Into moderation you go.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You most assuredly are Making Shit Up.

          Or else you and your vaccine site were violating the law, endangering patients, and defrauding them and HHS. We are to believe you and they were committing fraud by charging the government for one Moderna booster and getting 2.5 boosters from that vial. Is that what you want to continue to maintain?

          A Moderna booster is 50% or 100% of the primary series, 0.5 ml primary v. 0.25 ml OR .0.5 ml for booster. So a full dose even for Moderna would be common.

          The Pfizer and J&J boosters are full dose, 0.3 ml for both for Pfizer and 0.5 ml for J&J. You can see that here, clear as day, on the CDC’s sheet:

          You should be worried. If what you said is true, your license is at risk if anyone works out what your “vaccine site” was up to.

  11. Anthony G Stegman

    How is this legal? It seems to me that denying someone a potentially lifesaving medicine for arbitrary reasons ought to be wholly illegal. Perhaps there needs to be lawsuits filed and find out what becomes of it.

    1. JBird4049

      All sorts of things either are illegal, or were, but are not now, even if black letter laws or rules says otherwise. The various legislatures, courts, and governments at all levels, federal, state, and municipal, have seen to that and the reasons are money, power, and even mere status.

      Watch, even if some law somewhere says otherwise, some judge or legislature will correct that mistake and prevent any lawsuits by the proles and the marks.

  12. outside observer

    What is the purpose of lagging boosters in the context of a let-it-rip policy? By the time it is available you’ve already been exposed to the real thing. Half of everyone I know, all vaccinated and living as if the pandemic was over, has had covid in the past 3-4 months. I’ll be curious to see if they get the booster. Probably will.

    1. Lupana

      That’s what I’ve wondered. The message I’m getting is COVID is over…live your normal pre pandemic life…no masks or precautions necessary…get your booster… …. Huh???

    2. Ribs5

      I decided not to get vaccinated with an MRNA vaccine, and as no others were offered here in BC, I remain unvaccinated. I isolated, wore mask when among other people, only socialized within my “bubble” etc. When the omicron came round, I (and almost everyone I know) caught it. Fairly mild, though not pleasant, took about 2 weeks to feel completely over it, so I guess I was fortunate.

      But here is the thing, pretty much everyone I know got the omicron, both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, None of the unvaccinated have had a second Covid infection, but many of my vaccinated friends have been infected several times, in spite of having all the recommended boosters. I am curious if this is just a coincidence among my acquaintances, or if anyone else has experienced this?

  13. playon

    Thanks to the information shared on this site I found the Enovid nasal anti-viral which is available from Israeli pharmacies by mail-order. I’m at a loss as to why that these kind of mitigations and treatments remain unavailable in the USA (not to mention the snail’s-pace approval of nasal vaccines). It’s unfettered corporate greed.

    I will not take another MNRA vaccine. After two years of avoiding COVID, wearing masks whenever going out, etc I caught it three months after getting a third booster shot, about two weeks after Biden removed the mask mandate. I had a pretty bad reaction to the second shot and looking back on it I can’t believe I still got the booster after that, but never again.

    Fauci is stepping down and at the same time the mainstream media is whitewashing his problematic history with AIDS and his “gain of function” research is not mentioned. This piece is typical:

    1. Basil Pesto

      Thanks to the information shared on this site I found the Enovid nasal anti-viral which is available from Israeli pharmacies by mail-order. I’m at a loss as to why that these kind of mitigations and treatments remain unavailable in the USA (not to mention the snail’s-pace approval of nasal vaccines). It’s unfettered corporate greed.

      I use Enovid, but let’s not pretend it’s something it’s not. More and better evidence is needed with regards to its usefulness, if any, as prophylaxis. The strongest evidence wrt Enovid has been an RCT showing that it hastens viral clearance in the URT. That’s good but not a substitute for, say, a hypothetical non-crappy vaccine or, indeed, a hypothetical non-crappy antiviral.

      Moreover, we shouldn’t pretend that the sale of Enovid isn’t driven in some respect by the profit motive. Bottles cost something like $40AUD each, last 2 months at most with sparing use (depending on how often you have to go out), and less than one month if you’re fighting an infection. They sent a cloying marketing email urging me to re-order to “maintain my protection” or words to that effect. They’ll make a lot of money, and we still don’t have a fully clear picture of just how useful their product is.

  14. Sideshow Bob

    A vaccine is a hack of the immune system, something that is far from fully understood.
    There is a reason that vaccines normally undergo long trials, and that is the same reason one should avoid experimental vaccines: you’re rolling the dice with your immune system.

    The Covid vaccine should only have been given to the most at risk people. The risks of an experimental vaccine are too high otherwise.

  15. JustTheFacts

    Since we seem to agree there is no known scientific benefit of forcing the unvaccinated to take the two additional doses for a variant of COVID that is no longer in circulation, here is another hypothesis as to why this might be required.

    I am seeing concerning reports of unexplained increased excess mortality on the internet. A hypothesis is that this is due to people opting out of routine medical care due to COVID, which makes some sense a priori. However another hypothesis is that this is due to side-effects of vaccination.

    The fact that the unvaccinated controls in the original vaccine trials were offered vaccines for “ethical reasons” made it impossible to notice any potential long term harmful effects of the vaccines by comparing the control and treatment groups. It seems to me that forcing those who are yet to be vaccinated to take a full course before getting an Omicron vaccine should have a similar effect, further reducing the potential control group of people who did not get vaccinated.

    Obviously, evidence that discounts this disturbing hypothesis would be welcome.

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