Americans, still reeling from a nationwide vaccine mandate, are now facing more complex decisions regarding COVID-19 shots. This week, a group of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) experts approved and recommended those who got the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines roll up their sleeves for round two. The Pfizer-BioNTech booster was previously given the go-ahead by the CDC and FDA last month.
Hold it Right There!
Many Americans have not even submitted to round one of the vaccines and have been seeking relief from various courts regarding a federal mandate that currently does not even exist. The feds have promised one, but it’s not even on the books at the time of this writing. From the objections of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police to NBA player Kyrie Irving, the vaccine waters are getting more turbulent with each passing day. Meanwhile, rank and file Americans – some who have been vaccinated and others who haven’t – wonder what to do.
The CDC has issued guidelines for Pfizer regarding who should get the booster, but none thus far have been determined for J & J and Moderna. Even the FDA panel argued the timing of the Johnson & Johnson booster, with some saying the drug manufacturer should have done a two-part vaxx at the start. “That’s why the committee ultimately voted in favor of authorizing a booster dose beginning at two months for anyone after getting a first shot of the J&J vaccine,” according to Time Magazine.
Two months? What does this mean for those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine six months ago? Does this booster approval now imply these folks are already way behind the eight-ball? Another legitimate query involves those who did not respond well to the initial shot. Rock & Roll legend Eric Clapton is a case in point. His reaction was so severe he feared “he’d never play [his guitar] again,” wrote Michael Less for the Washington Examiner.
The looming, big-daddy-of-them-all question is whether these boosters will be required as well? If the Biden Administration plans to roll out a booster shot mandate, those who haven’t even submitted to the initial jab will be hopelessly behind. Considering this may affect someone’s ability to work, the chaos that could ensue with a “booster mandate” is unimaginable.
Mix and Match?
Then there is the sticky wicket of changing vaccines midstream. Let’s say your first shot was done with J & J, but you don’t like the efficacy of that particular cocktail and want to change to Pfizer or Moderna? Can you just mix and match vaccines? ABC News reported on Oct. 15 that U.S. regulators had made no such decision. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would need to amend its authorizations of the three vaccines available to Americans, and the Centers of [sic] Disease Control and Prevention would have to endorse the idea,” according to the television network.
For the sake of clarity, consumers should understand that even though the FDA panel has now approved all three of the COVID-19 boosters, only Pfizer is available and is designated only for those over 65 or for younger high-risk individuals. So even if you are ready and willing to get the next COVID vaccine, you may not be able to get your hands on one.
With so many legitimate questions regarding a very personal decision, it may be that health and federal authorities might want to slow things down a bit, allow Americans to catch their collective breath, and stop the COVID vaccine runaway freight train in its tracks. Who knows, maybe if they calm down, the whole thing just might wear itself out, and there will be nothing left for them to do.
~ Read more from Leesa K. Donner.