Top doctors and scientists are privately pushing the Biden administration to drop their plan to offer booster shots to all adults, Politico reports.
Former advisers on President Joe Biden’s transition team and others objected to the plan during a private call last week with federal officials.
Experts say the data simply does not show the need for boosters at this time.
The experts urged the administration to only focus on those most at risk of severe Covid to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths.
Federal scientists also balked at the plan, limiting the rollout of boosters to the elderly and immunocompromised, though political appointees later also included frontline workers as well.
Experts say the booster spat undermines Biden’s vow to follow the science on Coivd.
“It undermines credibility not just for [federal health] agencies but for the administration overall,” Irwin Redlener, director of the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative at Columbia University, told Politico. “Somebody needs a communication lesson. Maybe many people do.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told the outlet that the administration "regularly engage[s] outside stakeholders from the medical community with a broad array of viewpoints for their feedback."
"We are doing all we can to offer Americans the maximum protection afforded by vaccines, including constantly working to increase the number of primary vaccinations as well as ensuring boosters are available to all who are eligible," the spokesperson said.
The latest discussions come after numerous reports of frustration among scientists at the CDC and FDA with Biden’s plan.
Dr. Anthony Fauci argued on last week’s call that the boosters should be provided to reduce the spread of the virus, not simply prevent severe illness or death.
Fauci’s remarks left people “mystified about the goal of the government’s vaccination campaign,” according to Politico.
“It was very tense,” a source told the outlet. “More than anything, it was like Fauci felt he needed to make a point.”
“There is some benefit to reducing transmission with boosters. But that benefit is marginal compared to the benefit of vaccinating people in parts of the country that are not vaccinated, never gotten a dose to begin with,” added Nahid Bhadelia, director of Boston University’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research. “Even with the booster, the antibodies may go down again. And as long as there is a pool of people who are not vaccinated in the community, I'm not going to be 100 percent protected.”