An F.D.A. advisory panel is scheduled to vote today on whether J. & J. recipients should receive a booster shot. But the panel is not likely to vote on what seems to be the most relevant question: Should the booster shot come from one of the other vaccines — Pfizer’s or Moderna’s, which are known as mRNA vaccines — rather than a follow-up J. & J. shot?
The scientific evidence increasingly suggests that the answer is yes (as I explain below). Still, the F.D.A. panel seems likely to duck the question and rule only on whether J. & J. recipients should receive a J. & J. booster.
It is the latest example of a recurring Covid problem. Again and again, government officials have chosen to follow pre-existing bureaucratic procedures even when doing so has led to widespread public confusion and counterproductive behavior.