Bernard Black on COVID Boosters

U.S. News & World Report View Original Source

U.S. News & World Report – ICLE Academic Affiliate Bernard Black was quoted by U.S. News & World Report in a story about his recent co-authored paper on the benefits of COVID-19 vaccine boosters by age cohort. You can read full piece here.

Senior researcher Bernard Black is a law professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law in Chicago who specializes in health policy. He pointed out that the study only looked at deaths from COVID and did not consider infections the vaccine may have prevented or made less severe.

Still, for younger people the booster may be of less benefit, he suggested.

“There isn’t evidence of a [death] benefit in younger people,” Black said.

…With the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration poised to recommend yearly COVID shots, Black believes the message should be focused on folks in their 60s and older, for whom the protection against dying is greatest.

“We don’t know enough to know whether to recommend an annual COVID shot below age 60,” he said. “From everything I know, above a 60, sure; in your 50s, probably. Below that, I’d say we just don’t know.”

Maybe, Black said, if public health messaging said, “You are someone who really needs it,” more people who really need the booster would get it.

…For the study, Black and his colleagues combed death and vaccination records for 722,000 adults in Milwaukee County, Wisc., from Jan. 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

The vaccines are really good, “but let’s not claim they’re better than they are,” Black said. “And let’s not tell younger people that it’s super critical that you get boosted because it’s not. Is it a good idea? Yeah. But is it critical? No more than a flu shot is.”