UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM Dr. Monica Gandhi, who says the story and original headline did not reflect her views on mRNA vaccines


The importance of what Dr. Monica Gandhi wrote this morning is hard to overstate.

Dr. Gandhi is an infectious diseases professor at the University of California, San Francisco who has been among the most reasonable medical voices about Covid - neither a conspiracy theorist nor a lockdown-loving screecher. In PANDEMIA I describe her as “the rarest of breeds,” a Covid centrist.

She was also very pro-mRNA vaccine.

Until now.

This morning, in her weekly email newsletter, Dr. Gandhi wrote that:

And finally, Omicron exposure likely to combat other variants in future since the individual has seen the whole virus; otherwise, would recommend a booster with a whole inactivated virion vaccine like Covaxin/Ocugen (EUA pending at FDA since November 5). [Emphasis added.] 

Covaxin is nothing like the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. It doesn’t hijack our cells and force them to make spike proteins. Instead, like many older vaccines for other viruses, it presents the body with a complete (but disabled) viral particle to allow our immune systems to build their defenses without the dangers of being infected.

I don’t know how well Covaxin works - though I need to start looking at the data and finding out.

What I know is this: Dr. Gandhi is telling her American readers that if they want a booster, they are better off TAKING A VACCINE THAT IS NOT AVAILABLE TO THEM than the mRNA vaccines.

“EUA pending at FDA since November 5” translates into: the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing an Emergency Use Application for Covaxin. For whatever reason, the agency seems to be in no particular hurry to act. Until the FDA approves the EUA, it cannot be used in the United States.

In other words: people are better off waiting for a vaccine that may not be available for months - if ever - than taking the Pfizer or Moderna shots.

Unlike me, Dr. Gandhi is too smart to come out and say openly the mRNA vaccines are useless (if not dangerous) at this point. She knows exactly how far in front of the consensus she can get and still have access to the elite media bluechecks.

But she knows the implications of what she wrote. And she knows how it will be interpreted.

Now you do, too.

Notes from a (short) interview with Dr. Gandhi that followed the original publication of this story (which was headlined “Dr. Monica Gandhi is done with the mRNA vaccines":

Dr. Gandhi repeatedly said the story and especially the headline did not reflect her views.

Dr. Gandhi declined to participate in a Q&A [as I offered] or explain why she had not mentioned the possibility of boosting with the mRNA vaccines or any other specifics in her newsletter post. She also declined to say if she thought more mRNA boosters were appropriate for the general population. She said she had received many emails about the original post.

Her direct quotes:

“I’m not done with mRNA vaccines.”

“I think Dr. Graham [Barney Graham, who helped developed the vaccines at the National Institutes of Health] should win the Nobel Prize.”

“I think they’re fantastic vaccines.”

“It’s silly to write that.”

“I think they are really safe and effective vaccines.”