It appears things are not well in vaccineland. Top COVID experts are reportedly urging President Joe Biden to relax a bit on the “Y’all gotta get the booster shot” campaign. Even more juicy is the fact that these experts are clashing with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been constantly on cable television pushing Americans to accept the vax as their personal Lord and savior.
Politico reported on a “growing split” between the president’s team and outside health experts over the issue of booster shots. The outlet indicated that this rift “threatens to disrupt a key source of support the administration has relied on to sell its vaccination drive to the American public.”
Biden had the support of prominent physicians who believed his messaging on the COVID vaccine was on point. But now, even those who have lauded his approach to the pandemic are criticizing the administration’s current messaging on booster shots, pointing out that it is causing confusion.
Irwin Redlener, director of the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative at Columbia University, told Politico that the administration’s messaging “undermines credibility not just for [federal health] agencies but for the administration overall.” He continued: “Somebody needs a communication lesson. Maybe many people do.”
A spokesperson for Health and Human Services (HHS) said:
We are doing all we can to offer Americans the maximum protection afforded by vaccines, including constantly working to increase the number of primary vaccinations as well as ensuring boosters are available to all who are eligible.
The president’s team typically has regular phone meetings with health experts to discuss talking points or to discuss upcoming announcements. Politico reported:
Now, with the FDA preparing to authorize boosters from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, top federal health officials have reached out to administration surrogates to promote the government’s approach. Biden’s team is stressing the importance of using boosters to prevent breakthrough infections, even mild cases.
These conversations are happening as tensions between scientists working with the CDC and FDA and other officials are becoming more pronounced. The conflict is mostly over messaging. The most recent call, which occurred on Sept. 27, was rescheduled after the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee suggested that the booster only be given to people who are in high-risk groups – especially the elderly.
According to three people who had information on the phone call, this one “was the tensest one to date.” Fauci took issue with the CDC’s assessment that the boosters should not be given to all adults. What a shocker, right?
Politico reported that “He dismissed suggestions that the administration had to choose between a broad U.S. booster campaign and donating vaccines to countries in need.”
The president’s chief medical adviser also suggested to the experts that the boosters should be widely distributed to the population to decrease the spread of the virus and not just to prevent severe symptoms or death. The report notes that some of the experts on the call “were left mystified” about the administration’s messaging strategy.
“It was very tense,” said of the individuals on the call. “More than anything, it was like Fauci felt he needed to make a point.”
Essentially, Fauci and other members of Biden’s team wish to go all Oprah with the boosters – “You get a booster! You get a booster!” But the outside experts concur with the FDA and CDC and believe it should be targeted to those with underlying health conditions.
Fauci’s position on boosters isn’t surprising given that only a week ago, he intimated that things would get to the point that in order to be considered fully vaccinated, everyone would need to have both two vaccines and a booster. However, the fact that the outside experts, along with the CDC and FDA believe it should only be targeted to people who are more at risk makes one wonder if Biden will still “follow the science.”
It is unlikely that the president will listen to the naysayers even though the science seems to be on their side. The reality is that when the White House says “Trust the science,” they’re really saying “Trust the science that supports what we want to do.”
This kerfuffle and confusion over boosters might actually dissuade Americans from taking the additional jab. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that these experts will speak out against the vaccine mandates that the left is pushing, especially in blue states. For the time being, it appears there is no light at the end of that particular tunnel.