U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky broke from the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices panel late Thursday night to recommend Pfizer coronavirus vaccine booster shots for younger at-risk workers.
Fox News reported that while the panel had recommended the booster shot for Americans aged 65 and older and those over 50 with underlying medical conditions, they voted against recommending it for younger at-risk workers. Despite this, Walensky recommended it for this group of people anyway, saying that it aligns with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration booster authorization from earlier this week.
“As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact,” she said. “At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good.”
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Teachers and front-line medical workers are each included in this younger at-risk group.
What Walensky did came as a shock, given that CDC directors rarely reverse panel decisions, as doing so undermines the entire process. Nevertheless, Walensky did so anyway to align herself with the FDA and the White House, which recommended that more Americans get booster shots.
“I am surprised that Dr. Walensky overturned one of the four ACIP votes today, and I believe others will be as well,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, an infectious disease expert on the committee. However, she declined to begrudge Walensky’s decision, saying that the vote was a close one.
“I am hoping to share this news with you before you see it in the press,” said Dr. Amanda Cohn, who oversaw the panel.
The panel also voted that people ages 18 to 49 who have chronic health problems and want the booster should have the option to get one. However, they refused to go further and open boosters to otherwise healthy front-line health care workers who aren’t at risk of severe illness but want to avoid even a mild infection.
Walensky kicked off yesterday’s meeting by reiterating that that vaccinating the unvaccinated remains the top goal “here in America and around the world.” At the time of this writing, it is believed that 55% of Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Like many other health officials, Walensky has contradicted herself many times throughout this pandemic, showing that she can’t be trusted. Her ultimate goal is to force as many people to get vaccinated as possible without taking their individual rights to choose what goes into their bodies into account.