Opinion | Was the Decision on Boosters Bungled?

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To the Editor:

Re “This Is No Way to End a Pandemic” (editorial, Sept. 26):

The editorial board opines that before giving Covid booster shots to all vaccinated Americans, the Biden administration should send the vaccines to lower-income countries throughout the world. It seems to ignore the herculean effort that would require.

Keeping the vaccines potent and safe, organizing clinics and finding trained staff come to mind. Advocates for a “global vaccine equity” should remember that the devil is in the details.

Richard R. Babb
Portola Valley, Calif.

To the Editor:

I am grateful for your editorial. While I ache for President Biden to get this right, he and his team seem intent on adding to the confusion of the booster shot. I want to believe that this president is not politicizing the issue of vaccines, but my belief wavers daily.

The United States and the World Health Organization and all developed countries must work together to emphasize 1) the global nature of this pandemic; 2) the need for cooperation among nations and pharmaceutical companies; and 3) the value of each of us waiting our turn.

Sharon E. Streeter
Milwaukie, Ore.

To the Editor:

Yes, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dithered regarding the Pfizer booster, but that does not alter the science. The Israeli experience and Pfizer’s own data suggest that a booster six months after the initial series boosts the antibody response more than tenfold.

The argument that Pfizer’s vaccine and others should be reserved for third-world countries might be valid if production of these vaccines were not being ramped up at a prodigious rate. Pfizer alone claims that it will produce one billion doses of vaccine for low- and lower-middle-income countries. Other low-cost vaccines are in final trials, and other countries, such as India and Russia, are producing vaccines.

If The Times wants to argue that the F.D.A. has over recent years been co-opted by politics, lobbying, money and nonscientific determinants, it will get no disagreement from me. But attacking the basis for approving booster doses in the midst of a still raging pandemic is the wrong way to approach this.

Robert Matz
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

To the Editor:

“New Guidance on Booster Shots Gets Ahead of the Science,” by Megan L. Ranney and Jeremy Samuel Faust (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, Sept. 24), criticizes the C.D.C. and the Biden administration for acting too hastily in approving booster shots for a portion of the Pfizer vaccine recipients. However, most of the current discussion regarding boosters misses another crucial point.

Both the F.D.A. panel and the C.D.C. vaccine advisory committee bemoaned the lack of data on which to base their decisions. The C.D.C. stopped reporting the mild and asymptomatic breakthrough infections data on May 1. The breakthrough deaths and hospitalizations data collection process is haphazard and patchy, with many states, including Florida and New York, not reporting any data.

The C.D.C. still has not taken the lead on this crucial issue, and that has greatly hampered the decision-making process on boosters. It is high time for this situation to change.

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