Expert Warns Against COVID Booster Shots for Young, Healthy Individuals: New England Journal of Medicine

An opinion piece recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine raises concerns about the effectiveness of COVID-19 booster shots for young individuals.

Vaccine expert and pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit, who sits on the FDA’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, called the new versions of boosters targeting Omicron and other emerging coronavirus strains “underwhelming.”

In the publication, Dr. Offit questioned the ability of booster shots to provide better protection than the original vaccine.

According to Dr. Offit, “we should stop” giving booster jabs to healthy young people, arguing that virus strains that boosters are meant to protect against may disappear in a few months.

“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,” writes Offit.

The medical doctor believes that booster dosing for COVID-19 should be “reserved” for individuals most at risk for severe disease.

“Although boosting with a bivalent vaccine is likely to have a similar effect as boosting with a monovalent vaccine, booster dosing is probably best reserved for the people most likely to need protection against severe disease — specifically, older adults, people with multiple coexisting conditions that put them at high risk for serious illness, and those who are immunocompromised,” he argues.

Dr. Offit is Director of the Vaccine Education Center and professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.