The question, however, is whether regulators will authorize Moderna a few weeks ahead of Pfizer, or wait to authorize them at the same time — in June — in an effort to minimize confusion.In an interview on Thursday with CNN+, White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested that regulators will do them both at the same time.Fauci said that the purpose of authorizing both at once, rather than Moderna a few weeks ahead of Pfizer, would be to not "confuse people.""It's going to be two separate companies, two products that are similar but not identical, particularly with regard to the dose,” he said, explaining that Moderna's regimen for kids under five is two doses, while Pfizer's is three doses.
“And what the FDA wants to do is to get it so that we don't confuse people,” Fauci said.Asked multiple times by CNN’s Kasie Hunt why parents couldn’t be expected to navigate having two options separately authorized around the same time, particularly for those who are eagerly waiting for a vaccine as soon as possible and would take whichever came first, Fauci said he couldn’t answer.“I can't really honestly answer that question because I don't know the answer to that question. Because I don't have all the data in front of me,” Fauci said, adding that the data before the FDA was confidential while it was under review.
Now, nobody is seriously arguing for a vaccine mandate in this age group. Only a quarter of kids aged five to eleven have been vaccinated since the vaccine was made available. Arguing that the data is confidential is fine but why is there a delay? Does the US government not trust individual parents and medical providers to be able to understand that different products exist for different age groups?
We already deal with this type of nuance for products like aspirin, which has age restrictions on use in children as a painkiller, unlike ibuprofen and acetaminophen which do not. That is for a product that is commonly used as an ingredient in other medications and which is given to relieve symptoms at home, not at a clinic or pharmacy with a trained medical professional to explain details.
There are a lot of threads asking why this might be on Twitter. But, honestly, the infantilizing response of "reduce confusion" seems so implausible that you feel you must be being misled. Or that the government has a very, very low opinion of the cognitive skills of the average clinician or parent. Because we had a period where only Pfizer was approved for teenagers and many of us were asked to get a Moderna booster to save Pfizer supply for these people. So we have actually already had a successful roll-out of different age eligibility for different vaccine products.
What makes this so annoying is that it is a pure unforced error that reduces government credibility. Far better to say something like "I don't feel able to comment until the FDA reviews the submission data". Arrogant, yes. But it doesn't feel like either an obvious falsehood or an evaluation of the intellect of the average American parent that was . . . low.
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