October is fast approaching. The early fall days used to mean it was time to get your flu shot; now it means getting your Covid booster, too. But a lot of people aren’t rolling up their sleeves for the fifth version of the shot, certainly not as many as were anticipated. Dr. Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to point the finger at a familiar target of confusion and ineptitude -- Washington.
“It has been a horrible roll-out,” Dr. Caplan told Berman and newsman Larry Mendte, who was subbing for Riedel, “and I blame the Biden Administration for being confusing and not really getting the message across. This is not a booster, first of all. It’s your annual Covid shot like your annual flu shot. This is a slightly tweaked version of the vaccine; they should stop calling it a booster.“
Another source of confusion Dr. Caplan cites is the cost of the shot, which wasn’t an issue previously, for a reason. “A lot of people aren’t sure whether their insurance is going to pay for it. That’s a big problem. It costs 150, 180 bucks. Last time we got it, it was free. The government paid for it. Now, they are giving out free tests, which is nice, but I’d much prefer if the administration would get on the ball and subsidize this thing and not have a financial obstacle.”
Dr. Caplan also pointed to a fight on the horizon between the FDA and patients who are afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Specifically, the FDA won’t approve a drug that may help patients with the fatal condition. “The FDA advisors, 18 of them, looked at the data and said no… because the company submitted lousy data, but the patients keep insisting that this unapproved drug helps them… so we’re going to see a lot of fighting over the next couple of weeks should the FDA yield to the patients.”
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