Washington, DC — More stringent vaccine requirements are coming down the pipe for federal employees, as President Biden voiced plans to make vaccinations mandatory for all. This comes after allowing those that opted out of the shot to undergo periodic testing to screen for the virus and promises that the vaccine would not be required.
But those aren’t the only new restrictions infringing on the rights of American citizens. He plans to unveil the rest of his “6-pronged” strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. And while there are whispers of a third booster shot, there has also been pushback from surprising places.
Two top FDA officials actually stepped down in response to the push for a third vaccine, citing the administration’s rollout before it was even approved by the agency. The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also expressed concern over implementing a third booster. He expressed concern for poorer countries not receiving their vaccines, but also stated that the justification of a third shot is unclear, as vaccine effectiveness continues to decline.
For insight into what the U.S. is heading toward, one should look to Israel, which was once the most vaccinated country, with about 78.6% of its population vaccinated. Cases have been on the rise in the country, with the most of those hospitalized having received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
To combat breakthrough infections, Israel began administering a third booster in July. However, cases are still on the rise and the significance of the data is still unclear.
In the United States, the idea of a third shot has been tossed around along with continued praise for the current vaccine’s efficacy, despite Delta cases rising. In fact, much of the concern over waning vaccine efficacy in the press has been brushed away as speculation with most of the blame falling on the unvaccinated population.
However, the CDC acknowledges the similarities between the U.S. and Israel stating:
“The findings from this study are consistent with those observed in other countries. Israel has reported 90% VE for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against hospitalization; however, a decline in VE against new diagnosed infections occurred during June 20 — July 17 (decreasing to <65%) (5). Another study in the United Kingdom found higher VE against infection with the Delta variant for Pfizer-BioNTech (88%), which was lower than VE against the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant (94%) (6).”
While the assertion was quiet and not widely publicized, it gives us some sign of what to expect, as vaccination and infection rates continue to climb together in a positive trajectory.
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