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Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Boosters and public policy in the spotlight

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CDC panel recommends Pfizer boosters for older and some higher-risk Americans, with agency expected to accept recommendation

But advisory panel declines to recommend extra shots for people whose jobs may put them at higher risk of infection

A federal advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that people 65 and older and nursing home residents receive a third Pfizer-BioNTech shot six months after completing the original two-shot regimen.

In a series of votes, the panel also recommended that people 50 to 64 years who have underlying medical conditions get a Pfizer booster six months after their second shot. But the panel declined to make the same recommendation for younger people, saying those 18 to 49 years old with underlying medical conditions may assess their own risk and choose to get a booster if they want one.

In a vote that generated the most debate, the panel declined to recommend a booster for people at risk of illness because of their jobs, a break from what the Food and Drug Administration authorized Wednesday.

The tension between what the science says, and what the politicians think their constituents need, can be healthy. Think about it like the civilian CinC and the military. Expert though they may be, final decisions are made by civilians. Keep that in mind as to why CDC Director Rachel Walensky just overruled the advisory committee.

Whoa - This is pretty bold and quite possibly the best move CDC Director Walensky has made in a long time. ACIP clearly erred in excluding HCW from boosters. Walensky overruled them and went with FDA's more expansive approach. https://t.co/ckLMfnuJ0u

Jay Varma/Atlantic:

Not Every Question Has a Scientific Answer

The toughest COVID-19 policy questions are matters for politicians—not health experts—to decide.

In any democratic jurisdiction, legal and economic factors, along with the opinion of powerful interest groups and the general public, may trump scientific evidence—particularly when that evidence is uncertain and incomplete. And although health experts almost uniformly believe that preventing illness and death should be the highest priority, eliminating risk altogether carries a cost, and humans differ in how much risk they are willing to tolerate and how much they want to........

© Daily Kos

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