Leana S. Wen and Sam Wang brought medical, moral and political clarity to the whole vaccination debate in their Sept. 16 Thursday Opinion essay, “Remaining unvaccinated is as reckless as drunken driving.” What I find a little puzzling is that the financial aspect has not yet been included.

The spike in hospitalizations caused by unvaccinated people must be imposing huge costs on the hospitals, and through them, on health insurance providers, Medicare and Medicaid. Ultimately, these costs will be borne by taxpayers and anybody with a private insurance policy.

So not only are the unvaccinated posing a direct health risk to us and our children, but they are also taking fistfuls of cash out of our pockets. Delta Air Lines announced that unvaccinated staff must pay an additional $200 a month in health insurance to offset these costs. That is an excellent start. All private and government health insurance providers should take analogous steps. To minimize bureaucracy, one solution could be to bill all unvaccinated individuals who are hospitalized with the coronavirus half the total cost of their treatments.

Basil ZavoicoMcLean

The Sept. 14 editorial The confusion over booster shots” didn’t adequately address the sources of the confusion over coronavirus vaccine booster shots.

The first problem here comes from President Biden’s inexplicable failure to nominate the new head of the Food and Drug Administration, even though it’s already the middle of September. The vacuum of leadership at the FDA allowed the infighting over boosters to take hold and paralyze the agency. 

The other issue concerns the failure by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to properly collect and analyze breakthrough case data. The CDC stopped posting the breakthrough infections data on May 1, well before the delta variant of the coronavirus took over. Its collection of breakthrough hospitalization and case data has been haphazard and inconsistent, and the state health authorities’ practices have been even more so. The CDC has concentrated on messaging rather than on proper data collection. 

The lack of up-to-date, well-structured breakthrough data that would be needed for understanding waning immunity has led directly to the current confusion over the need for booster shots. Ultimately, the CDC itself bears the blame here. 

Ilya Kapovich, New York