Former White House COVID Coordinator Dr. Jha: Debate About Boosters for Young People Is OK


Dr. Ashish Jha, the former White House COVID Coordinator, says he expects vaccines updated for this fall will provide a “great deal of protection” but he acknowledges there are questions about whether a young person should get the booster.

“My best read of the literature is that, yes, they should [get the COVID booster shot]. A reasonable person could read the literature and say, ‘I don’t know if that’s true and let’s have that debate.’” Dr. Jha says, unfortunately, that discussion is clouded by what he calls “nonsense and bad information” that causes confusion and ends up harming people. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to soon approve the new shots.

Dr. Jha, making his fifth appearance on the syndicated interview program “Conversations on Health Care,” also addressed the lingering mystery about COVID’s origins. “Anyone who tells you for sure they know exactly how it started probably is trying to sell you something. Early in 2020 my view was that it was more likely than not a natural origin [as opposed to a lab leak]. I still believe, and maybe I’m one the few people out there who does, that we can get to the bottom of this but we need a lot more transparency from China.”

Dr. Jha has returned to his role as dean at Brown University School of Public Health. He spoke to hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter as “Conversations on Health Care,” a production of Moses/Weitzman Health System, Inc., marked its 14th season.

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