Crash Cart: Bucking the Booster?

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With experts predicting another COVID surge over the holiday season, the Emergency Physicians Monthly board shared their takes on whether they’re getting the latest vaccine booster shot.

Mike Silverman:


I’m vaccinated and boosted.  Getting a booster previously has been shown to reduce mortality and we also know that the benefits of the vaccine wane.

Not enough eligible Americans have received boosters and advocating for boosters on a national level makes sense. COVID is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.  I’m caring for COVID patients every shift yet am happily back to spending time indoors with friends and family without a mask.

I think the data is less clear at this point whether the newest bivalent booster will produce a significant immune response and offer significant additional protection against illness.  We also don’t know if future strains will be more or less virulent than BA.5.  Yet the consensus is that the new vaccine is safe and won’t cause any harm.


Personally, I don’t think I have anything to lose by getting it and perhaps will have some additional benefit.  I have a couple of risk factors for severe illness, my last booster was six+ months ago, and I will be around COVID patients.  It seems easy enough to spend a few minutes getting a shot (just like my annual flu shot) to potentially decrease my risk of having a bad outcome if/when I get COVID.

Liz Malik:

I am vaccinated and boosted and will also be getting the BA.5 booster. I think that COVID will likely follow the trajectory of influenza and a yearly shot is in our future. Vaccination is a low risk, high reward way to avoid serious illness for us and our family/friends/colleagues.

Andy Little:


I am vaccinated and boosted. I have had COVID twice, and these episodes have been mild as a direct result of my vaccination status. My family has been spared any serious illness (as they have all gotten COVID) due to vaccinations. I like many others, will be in line to get this and future COVID-19 vaccinations.

William Sullivan:

I’m passing on the boosters. We’ve reached a point where COVID is causing substantially fewer hospitalizations and deaths and the diagnosis of most COVID “infections” occurs in asymptomatic patients who were required to take a random COVID test.
Meanwhile, “reported” injuries from vaccines have topped 1.3 million in the VAERS system when one study showed that death rates were underreported to the VAERS system by a factor of 20.
I’m old enough to remember when we stopped H1N1 influenza vaccinations due to about 60 reported cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome. Pfizer refuses to release COVID study data to the public until 2025.
The CDC won’t release updated data on COVID vaccination outcomes because it believes that the public may misinterpret the data. This latest bivalent booster has been approved by the FDA without completion of any human trials.
I “trust the science,” but science requires data. How ironic that we are in the third year of “emergency” authorization use of a novel vaccine to protect against a disease so severe that in most cases we require expensive testing to see if we even have it.

Mark Plaster:

I got vaccinated and boosted because I was required by the hospital to do so.  I then got COVID, presumably Omicron.  I didn’t have any reaction to the shots and the disease was mild.  But I’m passing on any further boosters because I’m unconvinced of the benefit over the risk.

I don’t have any problem with people getting the boosters.  But I would strenuously object to mandatory vaccinations.

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  1. Nancy Goodman, M.D. on

    Undecided, but worth seriously considering the risk/benefit:

    From our Northern neighbors:

    Serious adverse events of special interest following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in randomized trials in adults

    Top cardiologist calls for halt to COVID vaccination: Among the evidence cited by Malhotra is a study published in the journal Vaccine, which concluded, based on data from the trial studies conducted by Pfizer and Moderna, that the risk of being hospitalized due to an adverse reaction to the vaccine is greater than any protection the vaccine provides from hospitalization due to COVID.

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