Fauci: Omicron-Specific Coronavirus Boosters Unnecessary for Now
Leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said that coronavirus booster shots from Moderna and Pfizer are expected to offer significant protection against omicron, so a variant-specific shot is not needed as of now.
The study found that two doses of Moderna’s vaccine provide “substantially low” omicron-neutralizing activity after the second shot. A third shot boosts protection to a level “well within the range of neutralizing omicron,” Fauci said.
The Biden administration previously indicated that it has a contingency plan with Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson should a variant-specific shot become needed. Pfizer has said that its shot designed to take on omicron could be ready to ship in roughly three months, pending regulatory approval.
The Pew study also found that respondents’ ability or inability to define democracy correlated with views on autocracy. For example, of Australians who could define democracy, only 17% expressed approval of a government in which a strong leader could “make decisions without interference from courts or parliament” compared to 41% of those who could not.
The phrase “by the people, for the people” appeared in multiple responses. However, “the people’s” overall satisfaction with the democratic system in their countries appears to be in question, with only 6% of Britons and 3% of Australians designating democracy as the best system in their responses.
One British man went as far as to describe it as the “least worst system.” Slightly more — 5% and 7% of Austrialians and Britons, respectively — characterized democracy according to its failings
According to Richard Wike, Center Director of Global Attitudes Research at Pew, any number of circumstances — from economic anxieties to the status of certain freedoms — can sway public faith in democratic structures.
“Democracy essentially is a popular concept,” Wike said. People tend to like it, but they often aren’t as committed to it as you might think, or you might hope.”
Speaking at an online panel discussion earlier this week, Wike added: “People who say their country’s done a poor job of dealing with the pandemic….(and others) who don’t think they have free speech, for example, are much more unhappy with the way democracy is working,”
However, Dr. Seema Shah, Head of Democracy Assessment for the International IDEA and another panelist, spoke to a silver lining to democracy’s current plight:
“In democracies and non-democracies, what we saw is that protests, for instance, have never been as prevalent as they are today. Over the course of the pandemic, some 80% of countries around the world had some protest movement ongoing despite restrictions on the freedom of expression and of movement,” said Dr. Shah.
“People are not willing to sit back and be silent about things that they are, that they are not satisfied about.”