Will a fourth COVID shot save you?

On March 29, the FDA approved Emergency Use Authorization for a second booster of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for older and immunocompromised individuals.  The FDA defines older individuals in this case as those over 50.  The threshold for immunocompromise is defined as those who are immunocompromised due to organ transplants or individuals with a comparable level of immunodeficiency. 

This second booster could be administered at least four months after the patient's previous COVID shot. 

In a panel with other medical leaders, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that "I don't think we are going to see a recommendation for everybody in the immediate future."  However, Fauci didn't rule the opportunity out. 

Pfizer and BioNTech issued a joint press release, stating that the results of a recent study show that "the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine administered at least four months after the initial booster may restore antibody levels, improve protection in older people, and provide a similar safety profile to that of previous doses."

The CEO of Moderna stated, "The FDA's endorsement of a second booster dose will allow millions of Americans to build and maintain protection against SARS-CoV-2."  

The primary piece of supporting evidence for this decision is the result of a study in Israel.  In Israel, a fourth dose was approved for individuals over 65.  The results of hundreds of thousands of fourth shots administered indicated that "confirmed infections were two times lower and rates of severe illness were four times lower among individuals who received an additional booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administered at least four months after an initial booster (third) dose compared to those who received only one booster dose." 

The CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, previously stated that the booster shot is "not that good against infections [and] doesn't last very long."  The efficacy of boosters appears to wane after a short four months, in line with the new FDA schedule for the fourth shot.  The COVID-19 vaccines were hastily approved for emergency use in under a year,  and they have not proven to be the wonder drug that rid the world of COVID.  They are a temporary respite to what has become an endemic issue. 

Pfizer sold an estimated $32 billion's worth of COVID vaccines in 2021.  Much smaller Moderna sold around $17.7 billion's worth of COVID vaccines in 2021.  The stocks of both companies are down from highs late last year, with Moderna's performing particularly poorly, shedding around 66% of its value since it peaked in August of last year.  The COVID-19 vaccines accounted for almost all of Moderna's value, and a large percentage of Pfizer's, so both companies have a vested interest in continuing to get vaccines into the arms of patients. 

However, vaccination is not the only way in which one can protect himself from COVID or even respond to the disease.  A variety of monoclonal antibody treatments, which were proven to be an effective treatment of the symptoms of COVID, had their Emergency Use Authorization revoked earlier this year.  The one-track-mind medical apparatus continues to place all its eggs in the vaccine basket — that is, in vaccines that have vastly underperformed initial promises. 

One should always consult with a medical professional before deciding to get vaccinated.  However, there are plenty of other ways Americans can boost their immune health without vaccination, through better diet, exercise, and ensuring that they are not deficient in vitamins.

COVID is a dangerous disease to those who are elderly and immunocompromised, but among the young and healthy, it rarely is a death sentence.  The medical system in America should recognize that COVID is not the only health problem out there.  It has behaved as if that were the case for most of the past two years. 

Deaths of despair, including suicides and overdoses, are rising in this country but not elsewhere.  Two years of isolation, polarization, and economic hardship have led to a massive increase in mental health issues.  Teenagers are in a particularly bleak spot.  Over four in ten reportedly feel "persistently sad or hopeless," according to a recent CDC report

Perhaps this increase in despair is a symptom of America's global decline, a trend that also occurred in Eastern Europe before and after the fall of the USSR.  COVID will soon fade into the background, but the consequences of our societal failings will haunt us for decades to come.  That's something a vaccine won't fix.

Evan Maguire is a communications professional in the conservative movement.

Image: Triggermouse via Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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