Politicians should not manage drug and vaccine regulation
Their horizon is too short; they will screw it up
One of the core structural failures of American politics is that the time horizons are so short. Bad monetary or education policy may take years or decades to manifest, but by then accountable individuals are either long gone or long distanced from the issue.
The months preceding elections are vital. Politicians care far more about the two weeks before the vote than the two weeks after. These realities make managing biomedical issues complicated, particularly around drug and vaccine regulation.
Anyone who looks thoughtfully at the recent decision by FDA and CDC to authorize a booster for healthy 5 to 11 year olds will scratch their head. 75% of kids in this demographic have had COVID. The risks to a healthy unvaccinated child from COVID are very very low, and lower than seasonal flu. After the child has had covid, how can anyone claim that it is better to get 3 than 2 doses? Even 2 vs 0 is an open question. As for kids who haven't had COVID, the best answer is no one knows a booster is in their best interest.
Yet the administration marches on. Pushing this vaccine at these ages. Why? One answer is regulatory capture. The White House advisors & FDA are the bench for Pfizer and Moderna. I guarantee that after their term is over, we will see massive revolving door politics. I believe we should explicitly prohibit this to prevent outright corruption.
But another reason is the impending election. There will be soon be an explosion in cases in young people. That's inevitable. But the white House needs them to happen in late November and not October.
Let me be clear. The inevitable cases in kids will be mostly cold like illnesses. I am not particularly worried about that. Yet, these colds will be massively disruptive to school and parent's lives and will piss off half the electorate. We have created fragile systems where a red line in a plastic test can stop education-- that means cases will disrupt life.
If the White House get explosive cases in kids in October, they will hemorrhage even more seats than otherwise (either way, they will hemorrhage) If the cases happen in December, they will care far less and lose fewer seats.
Yet, if you didn't care about election, you might pursue the opposite strategy. The more cases in the summer and early fall, the better the late fall and winter will be.
It's the Winter that doctors fear, but politicians fear October. That is a core imbalance and why politicians should not be able to puppet the FDA.
This White House did what Trump did not. It put so much pressure on Gruber and Krause that they resigned, and now it appears to be dictating the FDAs agenda.
This is a bad precedent. Politicians should not run drug regulation. They are too short sighted to do it well. They will screw it up.