Coronavirus

U.S. Should Focus on Vaccinating the Rest of the World Before Covid Booster Shots, Says Dr. Vin Gupta

healthcare worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
Allison Dinner | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • U.S. health officials are expected to recommend that most Americans should get a vaccine booster eight months after their second dose.
  • Dr. Vin Gupta said that the most effective way to combat the coronavirus pandemic is to help vaccinate the rest of the world before administering booster shots to healthy Americans under the age of 65.  
  • “Giving more vaccine to people who do not necessarily need it, given the data today, makes no sense, and it’s not going to save lives, it’s actually not going to protect us and end this pandemic any more quickly,” Gupta said.

Intensive-care unit and lung doctor Dr. Vin Gupta told CNBC that the most effective way to combat the coronavirus pandemic is to help vaccinate the rest of the world before administering booster shots to healthy Americans under the age of 65.  

"An 'America First' strategy with vaccines should actually be to try to vaccinate as much of the world as possible, so that we can protect as many people as possible and mitigate the chance of a variant arising that will render all the existing vaccines useless, that's an 'America First' approach that will keep us as safe as possible," said Gupta, a professor at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

U.S. health officials are expected to recommend that most Americans should get a vaccine booster eight months after their second dose. If the Food and Drug Administration signs off on the move, people could start getting a third shot as early as next month. Gupta argued that the move did not make sense during a Tuesday evening interview on "The News with Shepard Smith."

"Giving more vaccine to people who do not necessarily need it, given the data today, makes no sense, and it's not going to save lives, it's actually not going to protect us and end this pandemic any more quickly," Gupta said. 

Sources told NBC News that the guidance would apply only to people who got two shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and the first boosters will likely go to older Americans.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FDA recommended boosters for some people with weakened immune systems. 

Gupta said the guidance on boosters for people over the age of 65 and those who are immunocompromised "makes sense," however, it could lead to confusion for everyone else. 

"For those that are otherwise healthy... these vaccines, two doses of Pfizer or two doses of Moderna remain powerfully effective at keeping people out of the hospital, so to issue this broad guidance here that everybody is going to need a booster at eight months... does not align with the data, as we know it to be right now, and this causes -- will cause potential confusion," Gupta said. 

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