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.