Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky overruled one of her agency’s panels on Friday to align herself with the Biden administration’s goals for COVID-19 booster shots.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices ruled on Friday that COVID-19 booster shots could be useful for older adults in the United States or those who are considered at high risk for hospitalization or death if they catch the virus. Notably missing from their recommendation, according to the Biden administration’s booster timeline, was approval for health care workers and others at higher risk for COVID-19 exposure to receive extra shots.
Instead of taking the panel’s researched recommendations, Walensky overruled her subordinates to further align the CDC with the White House’s agenda to begin rolling out booster shots for all Americans by the end of September. She maintained that it was her decision to make regardless of the panel’s findings, which she labeled “a scientific close call.”
“Many of our frontline workers, essential workers, and those in congregate settings, come from communities that have already been hardest hit,” Walensky claimed. “It was a decision about providing rather than withholding access.”
Later, on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Walensky admitted, “I recognize that confusion” on the messaging concerning booster shots.
While Walensky went to bat for Biden, the White House was already preoccupied doing damage control on its rhetoric promoting COVID-19 booster shots after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected the administration’s plan to roll out extra shots for all Americans. Just one week before Walensky’s abrupt decision, an FDA panel overwhelmingly found there was not enough evidence to support extra shots for every age group — a 16-2 vote — and instead recommended that the administration move forward with supplemental jabs for people 65 and older and those at high risk for a severe case of the virus due to their occupation.
This pressure from the Democrat president and his administration to offer “premature and unnecessary” consent to something that scientific data does not conclusively back up, reports indicated, caused strife within the regulatory agency and even pushed several high-profile FDA officials to resign. Later, these officials publicly disagreed with the administration’s booster shot push by signing a letter opposing it.
“Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high,” the letter states. “Even if humoral immunity appears to wane, reductions in neutralising antibody titre do not necessarily predict reductions in vaccine efficacy over time, and reductions in vaccine efficacy against mild disease do not necessarily predict reductions in the (typically higher) efficacy against severe disease.”
This is not the first time the CDC, Fauci, and the administration have reversed, overruled, or flip-flopped on decisions regarding COVID-19 recommendations. Whether it was hastily moving the goalposts on masking for “100 days,” backpedaling on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine by telling vaccinated people to mask up again, or bowing to teachers unions demands by shifting goals for school reopenings, Biden’s time in office has been plagued with months of shaping the science to fit the Democrats’ virus agenda.
Even when it came to booster shots, Dr. Anthony Fauci previously claimed it “would be a mistake” if the FDA committee didn’t vote in favor of the administration’s plan but changed his tune once the panel chose to recommend the shots for only some groups. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins similarly tried to downplay the FDA’s rejection of the White House’s rushed plan by claiming that the implementation of boosters for older populations is still a win for the administration.
“They did encourage, and vote for, the administration of boosters to people over 65 and those at high risk of exposure,” Collins noted. He went on to claim that “those are the people who would be most likely to reach that eight-month period” and that he doesn’t “think there’s huge differences here.”