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More Boosters? Why?

By October 12, 2022Commentary

The federal government and the state of Minnesota continue to push for people to get multiple boosters.  I have lost track of how many are recommended, and now we have the supposed Omicron booster, which I think will be equally worthless against infection.  Both the regular doses and the original booster have marginal effectiveness against infection in a pretty short time.  All the research indicates the same trend.  From the Minnesota data, there appears to be a higher level of effectiveness for a longer time against hospitalization and death, although that needs to be assessed by age group and at least the state has failed to account for the effect of a prior infection.  Other research does take that into account.  It isn’t clear that a booster does anything more for you than a prior infection and a couple of doses of vaccine.

I am extremely dubious about the value of a second booster or an Omicron booster.  I believe, based on my reading of the immune system research, that too much poking at the immune system with the same or similar antigens may actually have a paradoxical effect, whereby it dampens the immune response to a new attempted infection.  It also is apparent that the current versions of CV-19 are very mild and the combination of some immunity from the original vax or prior infection should be adequate to protect almost everyone against serious disease.  Those who are very frail and still susceptible to even a mild infection are not going to be helped by another booster.  So people should make their own decisions, but I don’t see a lot of evidence that suggests continuing to take booster after booster, Omicron-specific or not, is going to make any substantial difference.

This small study from an Ohio health system looked at booster effectiveness.  It found that booster effectiveness diminished quickly.  Somewhat humorously, if the booster failed to protect you from getting infected, that breakthrough infection led a person to have a stronger antibody response.  The authors, on anecdotal evidence, suggest a fourth shot or second booster might raise antibody response again.  Why bother is again my question, when Omicron is a cold.  (NEJM Study)

Do what you and your doctors think is best for you as an individual, but I am extremely doubtful that there is any lasting or significant value to most people getting additional vaccine doses.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Al Chem says:

    Pfizer’s president of international developed markets, Janine Small, admitted in testimony that the mRNA vaccine had never been tested for its ability to prevent transmission of COVID-19, contrary to what was previously advertised.

    Robert “Rob” Roos, a politician from the Netherlands who is also a member of the EU Parliament, exposed the lie that people from all over the world had been led to believe.

    “If you don’t get vaccinated, you’re antisocial. This is what the Dutch prime minister and health minister told us. You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself, but also for others. You do it for all of society, that’s what they said. Today, this turned out to be complete nonsense. ”

    Researchers with Moderna and Kaiser Permanente, carried out a study that found that people who received 3 Moderna doses were more likely to become infected with COVID-19 when compared to people who received just two doses.

    The effectiveness of three doses—a primary series and a booster—against infection remained above 50 percent after 150 days. But against more recent strains, including the currently-dominant BA.5, the effectiveness turned negative.
    Against BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5, the effectiveness went negative after 150 days.
    Against BA.1.12.1, the effectiveness turned negative after 91 days.

    Negative effectiveness means a vaccinated person is more likely to contract COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, than an unvaccinated person.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      the Pfizer thing is typical ignorance and twisting something to fit beliefs. The vaccines were tested with an endpoint of preventing infections. You can’t transmit if you aren’t infectious. You don’t have to test for an endpoint of preventing transmission, so cut the bullshit.

  • AnthonyD says:

    Several thoughts, Mr. Roche: 1) All discussions regarding the value of yet another booster – whatever the booster number – leave out consideration of Paxlovid’s having changed the treatment landscape. There are relapses (Biden, Fauci are examples) but extending a second round of the drug is effective. I care for many active COVID patients, and I take more solace in the Paxlovid I have on hand than any booster I might have had weeks or months ago. As far as we know, it is equally effective against all strains, old and new.
    2) As to “too much poking at the immune system with the same or similar antigens may have a paradoxical effect,” perhaps you are referring to the phenomenon of “ADE.” “Antibody-dependent enhancement of infection and the pathogenesis of viral disease.” Morens, D M Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Sep;19(3):500-12. doi: 10.1093/clinids/19.3.500. (An older article, but one of the first and best). Although this mechanism is not ubiquitous among all viruses, if an antibody is only partially effective against a new strain, it may paradoxically enhance infection in a new host. (Forgive me if you have discussed this in a previous post).
    3) Your advice is spot-on and should have been the norm from all agencies since the pandemic’s start: “Do what you and your doctors think is best for you as an individual…” The biggest fallacies of the pandemic are that one approach would fit all and that following the advice of “experts” would be superior to shared decision-making between a competent physician and an educated patient. This is especially true in light of the Pfizer revelations this week regarding the vaccine’s unstudied ability to prevent transmission. Whether testing for vaccine-induced antibody levels should be part of this shared-decision making now is data that our government should have collected but did not. Our so-called leaders were too busy telling social media what thoughtful, knoweldgeable people like you, Atlas, Makary, McCullough, Berenson, and too many others should be censored or banished from the public square.

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