September 18, 2021

Please see below for a statement from Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and Georgetown University Law Center:

Today, the FDA advisory committee voted against population-wide COVID-19 booster shots but recommended them for people 65 and older and those at high risk.

The result of today’s meeting comes at no surprise, and it was expected the FDA advisors would give a cool reception to the Biden administration’s plan.

The data shows that the current COVID-19 vaccines are still robust at preventing serious disease and hospitalization. For now, booster shots should only be used for the populations most at risk, including health workers, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly. We must continue to follow the science.

Today’s decision highlights what happens when the White House preempts its public health agencies. Until recommended by agencies like the CDC and FDA, political leaders should not announce policies like this until career scientists sign off. This mixed messaging will only confuse the general public more and further cause them to lose trust in the FDA and in vaccines themselves— something we cannot afford if we are to get out of this pandemic.

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For further comment or to schedule an interview, please contact Cynthia Sun at Cynthia.Sun@georgetown.edu or 678-677-0863