A vaccine adviser to the Food and Drug Administration is questioning whether young, healthy people should get new COVID-19 boosters, arguing those shots should be used for older individuals.
“I believe we should stop trying to prevent all symptomatic infections in healthy, young people by boosting them with vaccines containing mRNA from strains that might disappear a few months later,” wrote Dr. Paul A. Offit, an FDA vaccine panel adviser and professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in New England Journal of Medicine on Jan. 11.
In his article, Offit cited two studies suggesting that bivalent boosters, which target the original COVID-19 strain and two Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA. 5, do not “elicit superior immune responses.”
“Why did the strategy for significantly increasing BA.4 and BA.5 neutralizing antibodies using a bivalent vaccine fail?” he asked. “The most likely explanation is imprinting. The immune systems of people immunized with the bivalent vaccine, all of whom had previously been vaccinated, were primed to respond to the ancestral strain of SARS-CoV-2. They therefore probably responded to epitopes shared by BA.4 and BA.5 and the ancestral strain, rather than to new epitopes on BA.4 and BA.5.” – READ MORE