Published July 15, 2022
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to contradict themselves regarding COVID-19.
The Biden administration obviously still considers the COVID-19 pandemic a “public health emergency.” In June the FDA pushed forward with a series of aggressive COVID-19 vaccine administration actions under its emergency use authorization power.
First, the agency approved emergency use of a novel vaccine, which was engineered for the original 2019 version of COVID. The Novavax vaccine received an emergency use recommendation from the FDA’s advisory committee despite having the same cardiovascular side effect concerns as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Indeed, the approval of these injections by the regulatory bodies responsible for our public health, based upon the pharmaceutical companies’ own clinical trial data, demonstrate an appalling abandonment of basic drug approval norms.
Then, the FDA Advisory Committee approved emergency use for a primary series for the Pfizer and then Moderna vaccines for all children as young as 6 months old, despite children being at an extremely low risk. Nevertheless, the FDA is proceeding full speed ahead, pushing vaccines and boosters onto children of all ages. It had pictured young kids on its COVID vaccine homepage for months prior to its advisory committee recommendation—making clear that FDA leadership had already made its decision well ahead of any formal evaluation.
While the FDA pushes vaccines on all age groups—claiming that a dire COVID-19 public health emergency still exists—the White House appears perfectly comfortable with the CDC’s April 1 decision to terminate a public health authority meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across our borders.
Title 42 of the Public Health Services Act authorizes the director of the CDC to suspend entry of individuals into the U.S. to protect public health. The program allows U.S. Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection to prohibit “the entry of certain persons who potentially pose a health risk either by virtue of being subject to previously announced travel restrictions or because they unlawfully entered the country to bypass health screening measures.” Customs and Border Protection announced in March 2020 that, “to help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into border facilities and into the United States, persons subject to the order will not be held in congregate areas for processing and instead will immediately be expelled to their country of last transit.”
There is a real public-health rationale behind Title 42. COVID-19 mutations originate in countries with poor public health, where they can more easily spread to immunocompromised individuals. For example, the Omicron strain was first identified in Botswana and the Delta variant originated in India, and those strains are now responsible for 99 percent of COVID cases in the U.S. Why is the FDA expanding vaccine authorizations while Biden’s CDC is fighting Title 42 to bring in more potentially COVID-infected immigrants, known to originate from 52 different countries, at our southern border?
The Biden administration is opting to keep our border open to millions of illegal immigrants, 30 percent of whom refuse vaccination, and allow them to travel elsewhere in the country without consequence. The White House doesn’t seem to care that Illegal immigrants are allowed to refuse vaccination while America’s health care workers are not.
The U.S. border continues to break monthly records of illegal alien apprehensions since Joe Biden became president. It makes no sense to end Title 42, which is designed to prevent large volumes of people from entering our communities during a pandemic, especially if COVID-19 remains a public health emergency.
So are we still in a public health emergency, or aren’t we? The FDA approving under emergency authority and pushing vaccines on all age groups suggests we are. But the CDC eliminating Title 42 suggests we aren’t.
The FDA and CDC under the Biden administration are being duplicitous regarding COVID. Their inconsistency is one of many examples of federal public health agencies contradicting one another under Biden’s absent-minded and dangerously incompetent leadership.
Dr. David Gortler is a pharmacologist, pharmacist, and FDA and health care policy oversight fellow and FDA reform advocate at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was a professor of pharmacology and biotechnology at the Yale University School of Medicine, where he also served as a faculty appointee to the Yale University Bioethics Center. He was also senior advisor to the FDA commissioner for drug safety, FDA science policy, and FDA regulatory affairs.