CDC Changed Tune Before Omicron: ‘What the Vaccines Can’t Do Anymore Is Prevent Transmission’

A health care worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine during a vaccination event hosted by Miami Heat at FTX Arena in Miami, on August 5, 2021. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Public health officials changed their tune on the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines months before the discovery of the omicron variant of the virus, admitting in August that vaccines cannot prevent transmission of the virus — even though President Biden suggested otherwise as recently as December.

During an August appearance on CNN’s The Situation Room, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky made it clear — prior to the discovery of the omicron variant — that coronavirus vaccines do not prevent transmission of the virus, despite the fact they were largely sold that way to the American public originally.

“But what about all the fully vaccinated people who get the breakthrough infection? Can they pass it on? Could they pass it on to their children? Could they pass the virus on to older people, especially more vulnerable people with underlying health conditions?” host Wolf Blitzer asked during the August 5 segment.

“So, yes, they can with the delta variant. And that was the reason that we changed our guidance last Tuesday. Our vaccines are working exceptionally well. They continue to work well with delta with regard to severe illness and death. They prevent it,” she claimed.

A woman receives her Covid-19 vaccination at a pop-up clinic in the international arrivals area of Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, on December 22, 2021. - The clinic at the airport offers free vaccinations and boosters for holiday travelers on December 22 and on December 29. Los Angeles County sees what could be the beginning of a winter surge with more than 3,200 Covid-19 cases reported every day since last December 17. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman receives her coronavirus vaccination at a pop-up clinic in the international arrivals area of Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, on December 22, 2021. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

“But what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission,” she continued.

“So if you are going home to somebody who has not been vaccinated to somebody who can’t get vaccinated, somebody who might be immunosuppressed or a little bit frail, somebody who has comorbidities that put them at high risk, I would suggest you wear a mask in public indoor settings,” Walensky added.

“Especially if there is a breakthrough case and you get COVID, you’re fully vaccinated but you are totally asymptomatic, you can still pass on the virus to someone else. Is that right?” Blitzer said, seeking clarification.

“That’s exactly right. And that’s where our masking recommendation came from,” Walensky affirmed:

Her August admission shows that public health officials were already changing their tune prior to the discovery of the omicron variant of the virus. Additionally, despite that, President Biden has continued to “overstate”— for months —  the efficacy of vaccines, at least from a point of transmissibility. 

At an event in October, Biden stated that his administration was working to make sure that “health care workers are vaccinated,” but his reasoning suggested that vaccines prevent transmissibility. 

“Because if you seek care at a health care facility, you should have the certainty that the people providing that care are protected from COVID and cannot spread it to you,” he said. 

Even PolitiFact acknowledged that Biden critics “had a point.”

“Biden did overstate the degree to which vaccination curbs an individual’s ability to spread the virus to someone else. (The White House did not respond to inquiries for this article.),” PolitiFact wrote.

Yet even as recently as December, Biden made the same assertion, 

During a December 14 interview with a TV station in Dayton, Ohio, Biden called the pandemic one of the unvaccinated and added, “The unvaccinated. Not the vaccinated, the unvaccinated. That’s the problem. Everybody talks about freedom and not to have a shot or have a test. Well guess what? How about patriotism? How about making sure that you’re vaccinated, so you do not spread the disease to anyone else?”

Yet again, even PolitiFact admitted that “vaccination doesn’t eliminate risk of transmission,” deeming Biden’s statement “mostly false.” 

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