The 16 – 2 vote came after a sharp debate in which many of the panel’s independent experts, including infectious disease doctors and statisticians, challenged whether the data justified a broad rollout of extra shots when the vaccines appear to still offer robust protection against severe COVID-19 disease and hospitalization. The issue of whether or not to approve boosters has become increasingly contentious, dividing scientists, both outside and inside the FDA, including two scientists who recently announced they are leaving the agency because of pressure from the Biden administration to approve boosters, citing the lack of data to support a third shot. “It’s a welcome sight to see actual deliberations in meetings about vaccine booster shots at the FDA,” said Mary Holland, president of Children’s Health Defense. “It’s encouraging that a panel of experts stood up to political and corporate pressure based on the lack of convincing data for safety and efficacy of boosters.”
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