The Argument about Booster Shots

The purpose of a vaccine is to keep a person out of the hospital. Defined that way, current Covid-19 vaccines are quite effective. The people being hospitalized now are those who chose to avoid vaccination rather than those who were fully vaccinated. That remains true for the Delta variant. The Lambda variant is in South America and hasn’t migrated, as yet. (Yes, it exists and large population of unvaccinated people will be breeding groups for new varieties.)

So what about booster shots?

The case for boosters is simple.

  1. We don’t know how long the vaccines work. Better safe than sorry.
  2. If you had no major reaction to the original shot, you’re highly unlikely to react to a repetition of that shot.
  3. People have gotten booster shots with no issues.
  4. In fact, the annual flu vaccination is basically a booster shot against the flu. Boosters are in fact what we are accustomed to doing and virtually everything we are vaccinated for (e.g.. tetanus) requires a booster at some point.

The arguments against boosters are a little more problematic:

  1. We haven’t proven that boosters will help. It might be a health risk or a waste of money.
  2. Is if fair to give boosters to some who are vaccinated when so many don’t have any access to the vaccine?

The first of these opposition points sounds like what the anti-vaxxers were saying before it was proven wrong. (Some fanatics are still saying it in defiance of the experience.)

The second point assumes that production of the vaccine is somehow constrained. It was in the beginning, but not now. If you want more vaccine you can build more factories and use the military to jet the vaccine around the planet. The fact that this isn’t being done reflects a lack of will and an unwillingness to spend money or sacrifice profits. Vaccine supply is no longer a zero-sum game where if you get the shot, someone else can’t.

Supply is no excuse for not being vaccinated.

Deaths from the virus usually lag hospital admissions by a couple of weeks. We have positive tests and hospital admissions rising now across the US. The CDC reports that 83% of the positive tests are for the Delta version.

Florida leads the nation with a daily average of more than 6,486 new cases in the last seven days.(2) The other states with daily averages of more than 1,000 cases are California (3,638), Texas (3,254), Missouri (2,077), Louisiana (1,426), Arkansas (1,382) and Arizona (1,103).

These are also states in which large areas are under-vaccinated and unprotected.



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