Dr. Deborah Birx: ‘Hope’ Was Basis for Government Agencies’ Claim If Americans Are Vaccinated They Won’t Get COVID or Infect Others￼
Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as COVID response coordinator under former President Donald Trump, responded to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) during a congressional hearing Thursday that she does not know if the current administration was lying or guessing when officials told the American people the vaccinated could not get the COVID infection or infect others.
During a meeting of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, chaired by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) – who led with the premise the Trump administration prioritized politics over public health during the pandemic – Jordan asked Birx:
When the government told us, told the American people, that people who had been vaccinated couldn’t get it, were they guessing or were they lying?
I don’t know. All I know is there was evidence from the global pandemic that natural reinfection was occurring and since the vaccine was based on natural immunity, you cannot make the conclusion that the vaccine will do better than natural infection, although it can often do slightly better.
You’re an expert, you were on the task force, you were part of this, this effort when you were in the previous administration. And you’re saying, in this administration, that you can’t rule out the fact that our government was lying to us when they told us the vaccinated could not get the virus.
The former COVID response coordinator next admitted she knew vaccine immunity would decrease over time:
I don’t know about their discussions that they had in the task force. So, I can’t tell you that. I can tell you, as a family member who had individuals that were susceptible, of course, we got everybody vaccinated. But we still use layered protection during surges because I knew potentially the vaccine immunity would wane like natural immunity waned, and there was evidence that every four months reinfection was occurring in South Africa.
Wow. When the government told us that the vaccinated couldn’t transmit it, was that a lie or was that a guess? Or is it the same answer?
I think it was hope. That the vaccine would work in that way. And that’s why I think scientists and public health leaders always have to be at the table being very clear what we know and what we don’t know.
In April 2021, the New York Times reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “walked back controversial comments” made by Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who suggested vaccinated individuals never get the COVID infection themselves or infect others.
Walensky’s statement created a controversy because CDC had recently begun to push those who had taken the vaccines to begin wearing masks and refrain from contact with unvaccinated individuals.
The “walkback” statement from a CDC spokesman to the Times was that Walensky “spoke broadly” when she made that comment.
“It’s possible that some people who are fully vaccinated could get COVID-19,” the spokesman said. “The evidence isn’t clear whether they can spread the virus to others. We are continuing to evaluate the evidence.”
“The agency was responding in part to criticism from scientists who noted that current research was far from sufficient to claim that vaccinated people cannot spread the virus,” the Times reported.
The exchange between Jordan and Birx continued:
This is important for the country to know. So, when I asked the question when the government told us that the vaccinated couldn’t get it, and I asked you if it was a guess or a lie, you said you don’t know. You said you think it was hope? So, what we do know is it wasn’t the truth. So, they were either guessing, lying or hoping and communicating that information to the, to the citizens of this country.
I think they were hoping but you should know and those original phase three trials that were done in this country, that we only measured for symptomatic disease, so we weren’t proactively testing everybody in those trials to see if they got infected with mild or asymptomatic disease and so people had to present within the clinical trial. So, we never had the data that it was going to protect against asymptomatic infection, in fact.
Jordan observed the “irony” that Biden government health agencies are “guessing, hoping, or lying” with information for the American people, when the same administration “wants to set up the … disinformation governance board, and wants to talk about misinformation, and they’re the biggest purveyors of misinformation, false information, hopeful information, but not accurate and true information.”
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