Are Vaccine Boosters necessary?

Why the push for boosters may be premature…

Photo Courtesy of Brian L. Simpson 

By: Hayden Cunningham

On August 18, 2021, the Surgeon General announced in a White House press briefing that vaccine booster shots will be available for all fully vaccinated adults 18 years and older starting on September 20.

This announcement sparked criticism in the medical community by those who said the White House’s plan was premature. At the time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not evaluated the safety and effectiveness of a booster shot. This plan was also announced by the White House rather than one of our medical institutions. Many wondered if this plan was political or if it was rooted in science. Two top officials in the FDA went on to resign from their positions because the White House’s booster plan was announced before approval.

Shortly after the White House’s plan was announced, The World Health Organization announced that there should be a halt to booster shots for the rest of the year. Their concern was mostly inequality; why should the United States be administering boosters when we do not know yet if they are necessary and there are many third world countries that need help with the distributions of the first dose of vaccines?

But how medically necessary are boosters?

The truth is that the science behind the push for boosters is not as conclusive as our public officials are implying. The main reason that medical officals like Anthony Fauci cite as the need for boosters is that vaccinated individuals are seeing decreased levels of antibodies in their bodies to fight Covid-19. However, they are ignoring a well-known concept in epidemiology. Antibodies are not the only measurement of a body’s ability to fight a virus they are vaccinated for; T-cell and B-cell immunity is also an important measurement.

Take measles, for example. Most individuals were vaccinated for measles as a baby. But if a grown adult who was vaccinated were to take an antibody test for measles at this time, the results would be very low. That’s because a person’s body is not constantly making antibodies for all possible infections. When that measles vaccine was injected into the person, their body started making antibodies to fight the dead version of measles they interacted with. The ability to make those antibodies is stored in the T-cells and B-cells. Since those cells have the memory of making antibodies, the person’s antibody count will begin to wain. But if they come into contact with measles again, the body’s T-cells and B-cells will quickly produce antibodies to fight it.

This same logic applies to the Covid-19 vaccine. Even if a person’s antibody count decreases, their cells still have the ability to produce more antibodies should they need to. While it is difficult to measure a these cell’s ability to produce antibodies, there is no reason to believe that vaccinated individuals do not have strong T-cells and B-cells to fight future infection.

There is also much concern about cases that rise due to variants. When cases begin to rise, people become concerned and want an option to offer more production. As a result, they take a booster because they believe it offers them more protection.

But the concern of rising cases is not enough to propose boosters for the entire public. New variants will continue to emerge, but variants of a virus do not typically become more deadly. Doing so would kill their host. Instead, viruses try to become more transmissible. But if variants emerge, like the Omicron variant for example, that have very few symptoms and are not a massive risk to the vaccinated, then why worry at all? Does a Covid-19 case really matter that much if a person is asymptomatic, for example?

Some evidence suggests that boosters can decrease your risk of infection, but it is too hard to tell at this time. Regardless, why should a vaccinated person be worried about infection? If you are double-vaccinated and contract Covid-19, you are extremely unlikely to be hospitalized and even less likely to die.

One of the biggest mistakes of our public officials who set medical guidelines for the country is that they treat every individual as if they have the same demographic. Boosters may be a smart option for some. Those in a high-risk group or the elderly may be better-off by getting a booster. But there are others who may not need to take the risk. The decision ultimately depends on an individual’s risk assessment.

There are some serious concerns about multiple injections in the younger population. The younger you are, the less likely to suffer serious complications from a Covid-19 infection. This leads many to wonder why younger individuals need a booster at all. If a healthy 20 year old who is double-vaccinated gets infected with Covid-19, he or she has nearly a 0% chance of dying from the virus. A young and healthy person may see the low hospitalization and death numbers for their age group, look at the fact that over 75% of people who died of Covid-19 after being vaccinated had on average 4 comorbidities, and think that maybe a booster is not something they need immediately.

Then there’s the risk of adverse-effects from the booster.

The Covid-19 vaccine is not a traditional vaccine. In fact, the CDC had to change their definition of what a vaccine is after it was released. The Covid-19 vaccine is an mRNA vaccine that is essentially a gene therapy. This has been the first virus where a vaccine of its kind has been widely distributed and used.

Some scientists have sparked concerns about people, particularly young individuals, receiving a third dose of the vaccine. Robert Malone, for example, is a virologist and immunologist who was one of the leading members of the invention of mRNA vaccine technology. Malone (a person who is vaccinated himself) has stated concern about the spike protein in the Covid-19 vaccine and how repeated injections can negatively affect the human body’s immune system.

Malone has stated that during his Covid-19 research, he has identified cases where the vaccine and boosters have had adverse-effects in individuals, particularly young people. For men (particularly young men and boys), there is a risk of myocarditis. For women, there is a risk of the spike protein negatively effecting the menstrual cycle. These statements were previously considered conspiracy theories, but now major news publications are agreeing on it’s scientific basis.

New York Times headline October 6, 2021
New York Times headline January 6, 2022

Both of these side effects are incredibly rare. The point, however, is that young people have almost a 0% chance of dying from Covid-19 once they are vaccinated. Even unvaccinated young people have almost no chance of dying as well. So if the risk of a side effect from the vaccine or booster is higher than the risk of severe Covid-19 symptoms, hospitalization, and death, then why would a young and healthy individual get a booster?

Malone also states that there is a concern among virologists that there may be a period of time after getting the vaccine that it suppresses your T-cells. This would make a person more vulnerable to getting Covid-19, and we are not sure how long that window of risk is. Repeatedly giving people booster shots could make them more vulnerable and can skew the body’s immune response. This would also run the risk of “mismatching” the vaccines for new variants. Boosters are not designed for new variants that produce. There may be times when we can’t use a booster for a new variant. These concerns have yet to be fully-studied and peer-reviewed. But the point is bigger than that.

The point is that there is a general mindset among our politicians and so-called medical experts that the reasoning behind the Covid-19 response cannot be questioned. Malone was recently removed from Twitter for stating examples he personally had studied of vaccine side-effects. Malone has been a well-known scientist for decades, and has collaborated with federal medical institutions many times. But he was censored for simply sparking a conversation about the risk-assessment that comes with taking the Covid-19 vaccine.

The bottom line is this: every individual has to make their own risk-assessment when it comes to getting the vaccine and boosters. An elderly individual may decide to get the vaccine because the risk of Covid-19 is more severe than the risk of a booster side-effect. A younger person may choose to stay with their two-doses for now until more evidence is shown that a booster is necessary. And since a person’s booster status does not effect those around them, both forms of thoughts should be accepted because it is up to the individual.

There should also be exceptions for natural immunity. There is no strong evidence that a person who had Covid-19 already needs to be vaccinated and boosted. It is still too early to tell. Even Dr. Fauci had no answer why a person with natural immunity needed to still get the vaccine. We also know that natural immunity is likely better at fighting future infections than the vaccine. A person who already has naturally immunity is also more likely to be at risk of adverse-effects from the vaccine.

Making a medical decision, especially an irreversible one, is complicated and requires a lot of research and evaluation. Political leaders should not be ignoring the conversations that need to be had because they want to push their own conclusion.

And when does it end? Other countries (like Israel, for example) are changing their definition of “fully vaccinated” to include boosters. If scientists can’t give us clear reasons why boosters are necessary, and clear answers or theories about how many boosters will need to be taken over time, then we need to take a step back and re-evaluate decisions that need to be made. Shutting down voices who are trying to raise that concern and start the conversation will only make people more hesitant.

But the biggest concern of all regarding Covid-19 boosters are the people who are getting them without taking the time to do research. Medical decisions are not something that should be done casually. Just because you turn on the news and watch reporters recommend a vaccine booster does not mean that is the best decision for you. Every person is different and requires different medical needs. But being the type of person who makes serious decisions without critical thinking can be just as dangerous as any virus infection.

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