Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said the federal government’s definition of “fully vaccinated” could be subject to change since boosters are now available to many Americans.
That statement suggests people who are currently considered “fully vaccinated” and, as a result, are allowed to work, eat at restaurants, and attend sports events, concerts, etc. may be required to get booster shots in order to maintain their status.
During a press briefing Friday, a reporter asked Walensky if Americans who received the first round of jabs might not be considered fully vaccinated if they don’t follow up with a booster shot.
The exchange is below:
Associated Press Reporter:
Is the administration rethinking the definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated now that these boosters are recommended? Should people who are eligible for a booster now get one by a certain time frame to maintain their fully vaccinated status?
Yeah, it’s a really great question. Right now, we don’t have booster eligibility for all people, currently. So, we are going to — we have not yet changed the definition of fully vaccinated. We will continue to look at this. We may need to update our definition of fully vaccinated in the future. But right now, what I would say is, if you’re eligible for a booster, go ahead and get your booster, and we will continue to follow.
Walensky continued the White House’s mantra that the unvaccinated are responsible for creating the risk of infection in their families and communities.
“Currently, around 64 million Americans remain unvaccinated, leaving themselves and their children, their families, their loved ones, and communities vulnerable,” she said. “If you have not yet been vaccinated, I encourage you to take the time to get the information you need to make the decision to get vaccinated.”
At the same press briefing, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said:
More than 120 million Americans will become eligible for a booster in the coming months. That’s two out of three fully vaccinated adults in the U.S. This includes over 60 million vaccinated with Moderna and J&J, on top of the 60 million vaccinated with Pfizer. Importantly, of that total of 120 million, about 70 million are eligible now, as of today.
Booster shots provide enhanced protection and are a significant step forward in our fight against the virus. And to be clear: We are ready to execute on boosters.
Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported this week that data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on more than 8,000 positive COVID tests throughout Britain between May and August – the period of time when the Delta variant was prevalent – suggested natural immunity following catching the virus offers just as effective protection against infection as two doses of a vaccine.
The ONS report found unvaccinated individuals who catch the Delta variant are about 71 percent less likely to test positive for COVID for a second time, while those having received two doses of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca shots reduced their risk of infection by 67 percent.
However, protection from the shots appears to wane at about five months.
“The ONS said there was ‘no evidence’ vaccines offered more immunity than catching Covid itself, despite a number of other studies showing the opposite,” the Daily Mail reported.
Jane Orient, M.D., executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) explained this week at the organization’s website that early reports about the jabs’ over 90 percent efficacy involved the original strain of the virus and just a brief span of time.
“Immunity is waning, and boosters are being called for, even for the ‘one-shot’ Johnson & Johnson jab,” she said:
Most cases in the U.S. are now of the delta type. This might have emerged through natural selection as vaccine immunity suppressed the early types allowing the mutants to take over. Natural immunity should be broader, targeting many parts of the virus instead of just the spike protein.
But during the press briefing Friday, Walensky said, “Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from COVID-19.”
“Expanding vaccination coverage will not only reduce transmission of the virus, it will also help prevent new variants from emerging,” she added.
Orient observed, nevertheless, that early promises that the vaccinated would avoid hospitalization and death have not been realized.
“Witness Colin Powell,” she noted. “The claim that ICUs are filled only with unvaccinated people is dubious, considering data from the UK, Australia, and Israel, where up to 99% of hospitalized patients are fully vaccinated.”
Recall as well that, in March, it was Walensky who said, “Our data from the CDC today suggest that vaccinated people do not carry the virus.”
By August, however, the CDC director had changed her message:
Our vaccines are working exceptionally well. They continue to work well with delta with regard to severe illness and death, but what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.
“Since vaccinated persons can spread the virus, even if they have minimal symptoms, this is not just a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated,’” Orient asserted. “So, whether vaccinated or not, you could still get COVID.”
“Everyone should be aware of the need to support the natural immune system, as with adequate vitamin D3 levels, and of early treatment options,” she advised.
The updated AAPS Guide to Home-Based COVID Treatment can be accessed on the organization’s website.
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