Is it too early for a COVID booster shot? Expert weighs in on ethics of 3rd dose

Sarah Schulte Image
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
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As some people are just getting their first shots, the federal government is discussing a plan for all vaccinated Americans to get their 3rd shot.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As some people are just getting their first shot, the federal government is discussing a plan for all vaccinated Americans to get their third shot at least eight months after their second dose.

However, University of Chicago Medical ethicist, Dr. Will Parker, said it's way too early to be giving boosters to healthy people.

"A dose in an unvaccinated person's arm is 100 times more important than a 3rd booster," he said.

RELATED: 3rd dose of COVID vaccine authorized for some. Here's what you need to know about boosters for all

Parker said especially when so many people remain unvaccinated worldwide, 72% of Americans have received at least one dose and 59.4 %are fully vaccinated -- but around the globe, the rates are much lower. Due to lack of access, 31.7% of the world's population have received one dose and only 23.7% are fully vaccinated.

"To boost the healthy adult U.S. population to the order of hundreds of millions of doses while the rest of the world hasn't even received the first dose would be unethically and a moral travesty," Parker said.

Parker is also pushing for more vaccine mandates in the U.S. among healthcare care and frontline workers.

RELATED: Booster shot brings reassurance to some immunocompromised patients

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 30% of Illinois healthcare personnel remain unvaccinated. The data is based on self-reporting from hospitals and not all volunteered their information.

"I certainly think that people who are going into a healthcare facility should know that the people who are treating them are safe and have been vaccinated," Governor J.B. Pritzker said.

Pritzker said he is concerned but is hopeful, more hospital workers will get the shot before it's time for everyone else to get a booster.

While state employees and workers in Illinois veteran homes are required to get vaccinated by Oct. 4, Pritzker said Tuesday that he has no plans to mandate it for all healthcare workers.