I have not had great confidence in the FDA and WHO when it comes to getting the science of COVID right in the short term. They both frequently advise too much caution in the face of low amounts of data, and too frequently the early available signals turn out to be correct. When weighing the risks and costs, acting on some data has almost always been the better choice than waiting on a more complete story. So when it comes to boosters, I’m inclined to believe Pfizer’s early evidence that they provide a significant increase in protection, especially for the elderly. And I’m inclined to believe that this protection is necessary for vaccinated individuals to have less restrictive lives given the rampant spread of COVID-19 and development of new, more contagious variants. The FDA, WHO, and other health officials playing “skeptical bad cop” will most likely have an outcome of dissuading complacent Americans from getting a third booster shot, even if better evidence shows we need them.

On the other hand, I do fully understand the moral imperative to get the whole world vaccinated. Not with standing the deaths, pain, and suffering COVID is causing as it continues to spread in lower income countries that were not able to secure vaccines due to international failure, the rise of new variants is dependent on the continuation of global pandemic conditions. Wealthy countries cannot defeat COVID only acting within their borders.

But the truth is, I don’t see anything to suggest that Americans who are willing to be vaccinated getting a third booster shot will meaningfully change the utter failure of the global community to distribute vaccines. And with large portions of the US population refusing to get vaccinated (and their governments supporting and enabling this choice), my family and I will see our risk of contracting continue to increase.

If offered, I am going to take my third shot, even if I hope the global health community gets its shit together and figures out how to vaccinate the world. We really need to see these vaccines get full approval instead of emergency-use authorization as well, since this has becoming the rallying cry of the vaccine hesitant, especially those who seem persuadable within the US.

In reply to: Health officials rail against Pfizer’s push for COVID boosters—for many reasons