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Biden Covid team sees vaccine effectiveness decline in unpublished data from Israel

Although the CDC has released a series of targeted studies that suggest the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines against infection is declining, particularly in the elderly, Israeli data is more comprehensive and more alarming, the Israeli data told Monday in POLITICO three sources who reviewed the data.

The administration’s focus on Israel data underscores how much the United States is relying on the experiences of other countries to predict the next phase of the pandemic here. This is partly because the highly contagious Delta variant swept through other parts of the world first, and partly because of better data tracking in countries like Israel that have national health systems. United States continues to struggle to collect and analyze reliable Covid-19 data because the federal government has long neglected the country’s public health infrastructure.

Senior administration officials working on the federal government’s response to the pandemic have debated for weeks whether to recommend booster shots for Americans. The White House and senior health officials said in mid-August that they plan to roll out the vaccines to most adults from September 20. move created tensions between key Biden collaborators, the CDC and the FDA, amid questions about whether national data supported the goal. Two senior FDA vaccine scientists leaving the agency co-authored a review published in The Lancet Monday that found no evidence to support the administration of booster vaccines to the general population.

The FDA is examining Israeli data as it examines requests from vaccine makers to offer booster shots, three other senior administration officials said. One official pointed out that no matter what national or international vaccine data says, the final decision on whether or not to recommend recalls rests with the FDA. The agency’s vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss Pfizer’s request for approval of its recall.

Asked to what extent Israeli data showed a decrease in vaccine effectiveness, Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said it was “enough to make you impressed.”

“I would be very surprised if the US data ultimately did not turn out to be very similar to the Israeli data,” Fauci told POLITICO.

The CDC has released a series of studies on vaccine effectiveness in the United States, focusing on the performance of injections after Delta became dominant this summer. The results suggest that the available vaccines still offer strong protection against serious illness for most age groups, and that breakthrough infections are still extremely rare. But studies also show that injections are less effective at preventing Delta infection than against older strains.

A CDC study released last week found that the ability of vaccines to prevent infections – including mild illnesses – declined from 91% to 78% after Delta took control this summer. The study included data on 600,000 Covid-19 infections from April to mid-July and compared the relative risks of infection, hospitalization and death by age and vaccination status.

“If you look at it from the point of view of trying to stay ahead of what could be increased suffering and death before it actually happens… and then you see this data from Israel. , and the suggestion of our own data, we thought we needed less to plan and be prepared to give people a third boost in immunization doses in a quick manner, ”said Fauci.

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