The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday walked back controversial comments made by its director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, suggesting that people who are vaccinated against the coronavirus never become infected or transmit the virus to others.
The assertion called into question the precautions that the agency had urged vaccinated people to take just last month, like wearing masks and gathering only under limited circumstances with unvaccinated people.
Dr. Walensky spoke broadly during this interview, an agency spokesman told The Times. Its possible that some people who are fully vaccinated could get Covid-19. The evidence isnt 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 data suggest that its much harder for vaccinated people to get infected, but dont think for one second that they cannot get infected, said Paul Duprex, director of the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh.
In a television interview with MSNBCs Rachel Maddow, Dr. Walensky referred to data published by the C.D.C. showing that one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 80 percent effective at preventing infection, and two doses were 90 percent effective.
That certainly suggested that transmission from vaccinated people might be unlikely, but Dr. Walenskys comments hinted that protection was complete. Our data from the C.D.C. today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, dont get sick, she said. And that its not just in the clinical trials, its also in real-world data.
Dr. Walensky went on to emphasize the importance of continuing to wear masks and maintain precautions, even for vaccinated people. Still, the brief comment was widely interpreted as saying that the vaccines offered complete protection against infection or transmission.
In a pandemic that regularly spawns scientific misunderstanding, experts said they were sympathetic to Dr. Walensky and her obvious desire for Americans to continue to take precautions. It was only Monday that she said rising caseloads had left her with a sense of impending doom.
If Dr. Walensky had said most vaccinated people do not carry virus, we would not be having this discussion, said John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
What we know is the vaccines are very substantially effective against infection theres more and more data on that but nothing is 100 percent, he added. It is an important public health message that needs to be gotten right.
April 5, 2021, 12:58 a.m. ET
Misinterpretation could disrupt the agencys urgent pleas for immunization, some experts said. As of Wednesday, 30 percent of Americans had received at least one dose of a vaccine and 17 percent were fully immunized.
There cannot be any daylight between what the research shows really impressive but incomplete protection and how it is described, said Dr. Peter Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
This opens the door to the skeptics who think the government is sugarcoating the science, Dr. Bach said, and completely undermines any remaining argument why people should keep wearing masks after being vaccinated.
All of the coronavirus vaccines are spectacularly successful at preventing serious disease and death from Covid-19, but how well they prevent infection has been less clear.
Clinical trials of the vaccines were designed only to assess whether the vaccines prevent serious illness and death. The research from the C.D.C. on Monday brought the welcome conclusion that the vaccines are also extremely effective at preventing infection.
The study enrolled 3,950 health care workers, emergency responders and others at high risk of infection. The participants swabbed their noses each week and sent the samples in for testing, which allowed federal researchers to track all infections, symptomatic or not. Two weeks after vaccination, the vast majority of vaccinated people remained virus-free, the study found.
Follow-up data from clinical trials support that finding. In results released by Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday, for example, 77 people who received the vaccine had a coronavirus infection, compared with 850 people who got a placebo.
Clearly, some vaccinated people do get infected, Dr. Duprex said. Were stopping symptoms, were keeping people out of hospitals. But were not making them completely resistant to an infection.
The number of vaccinated people who become infected is likely to be higher among those receiving vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which have a lower efficacy, experts said. (Still, those vaccines are worth taking, because they uniformly prevent serious illness and death.)
Infection rates may also be higher among people exposed to a virus variant that can sidestep the immune system.
Cases across the country are once again on the upswing, threatening a new surge. Dr. Walenskys comment came just a day after she made an emotional appeal to the American public to continue taking precautions.
I am asking you to just hold on a little longer, to get vaccinated when you can, so that all of those people that we all love will still be here when this pandemic ends, she said.
Given the rising numbers, its especially important that immunized people continue to protect those who have not yet been immunized against the virus, experts said.
Vaccinated people should not be throwing away their masks at this point, Dr. Moore said. This pandemic is not over.
See the rest here:
Can Vaccinated People Spread the Virus? - The New York Times
- Coronavirus news live: Latest as lockdown easing sees shops and pubs crowded - The Independent - April 12th, 2021
- Covid UK: coronavirus cases, deaths and vaccinations today - The Guardian - April 12th, 2021
- Asia Today: India records another surge in COVID-19 cases - The Associated Press - April 12th, 2021
- The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine Is Less Effective Against The South African And UK Variants Than Against The Original Virus, According To A New... - April 12th, 2021
- How Long Should You Wait To Get the Vaccine After Having COVID-19? - ideastream - April 9th, 2021
- What you should (and shouldn't) do with your vaccination card - KING5.com - April 9th, 2021
- UC Davis Health opening vaccinations up to anyone 16 and older | COVID-19 Updates in Northern California - ABC10.com KXTV - April 7th, 2021
- Germany to restrict AstraZeneca use in under-60s over clots - The Associated Press - April 5th, 2021
- The COVID-19 vaccine side effects you can expect based on your age, sex, and dose - Business Insider - April 5th, 2021
- Covid-19: Johnson & Johnson Put in Charge of Plant That Ruined Millions of Vaccine Doses - The New York Times - April 5th, 2021
- Germany restricts use of AstraZeneca vaccine to over 60s in most cases - DW (English) - April 5th, 2021
- Coronavirus vaccines with a side of fried fish are on the Good Friday menu in Central City - NOLA.com - April 3rd, 2021
- Explained: Making sense of Indias Covid-19 data - The Indian Express - April 3rd, 2021
- 35 Pa. counties have substantial spread of COVID-19; positive test rate rises for second week in a row - PennLive - March 30th, 2021
- Covid-19 News: In-Person School Attendance Inches Up but Roadblocks Remain - The New York Times - March 30th, 2021
- COVID-19 cases surging in Pa. and N.J. as variants spread; Biden sets goal of 200 million vaccinations by end - The Philadelphia Inquirer - March 28th, 2021
- Why Supply Isnt the Only Thing Stymying Europes Coronavirus Vaccine Rollout - The New York Times - March 26th, 2021
- All Georgia adults will be eligible for coronavirus vaccines starting Thursday - Atlanta Journal Constitution - March 26th, 2021
- COVID Vaccine (COVID-19 Immunization Updates) | CVS Pharmacy - March 24th, 2021
- Mavericks won't require their players to get the coronavirus vaccine - The Official Home of the - Mavs.com - March 24th, 2021
- Health experts give green light to Janssen COVID jab, allay clotting concerns - UN News - March 20th, 2021
- New York City marks anniversary of 1st COVID-19 death with memorial services - ABC News - March 15th, 2021
- Will I have to wear a mask after getting the Covid vaccine? The science explained - The Guardian - March 15th, 2021
- Health Department ignored red flags in Philly Fighting COVID partnership, inspector general says - The Philadelphia Inquirer - March 11th, 2021
- Coronavirus vaccination scam calls reported in Bay and Saginaw counties - MLive.com - March 11th, 2021
- When will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines? - KHOU.com - March 8th, 2021
- What you need to know about the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine - WHYY - March 8th, 2021
- People who have had COVID-19 might need only one shot of a coronavirus vaccine - Science News Magazine - March 6th, 2021
- "Corona Virus Vaccine Market Size is Projected to reach 75.75 Billion by end of 2021, Says Brandessence Market Research" - PR Newswire India - March 6th, 2021
- Who should skip the second shot of coronavirus vaccine? Weve got answers - cleveland.com - March 4th, 2021
- Explained: As you take the Covid-19 vaccine, some dos and donts - The Indian Express - March 4th, 2021
- "Corona Virus Vaccine Market Size is Projected to reach 75.75 Billion by end of 2021, Says Brandessence Market Research" USA - PRNewswire - March 4th, 2021
- Indias Covid-19 Vaccine Is Found Effective, Boosting National Efforts - The Wall Street Journal - March 4th, 2021
- Latest COVID-19 vaccination numbers in DC, Maryland and Virginia - WTOP - March 4th, 2021
- Situation Update: Response to COVID-19 in Indonesia (As of 1 March 2021) [EN/ID] - Indonesia - ReliefWeb - March 4th, 2021
- Dietary Supplement Use and COVID-19: What You Need to Know - JD Supra - March 4th, 2021
- Texas is diverting thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses away from Dallas County, Judge Jenkins says - WFAA.com - March 2nd, 2021
- The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines: Live updated - CNN - March 2nd, 2021
- FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Third COVID-19 Vaccine - FDA.gov - February 28th, 2021
- Coronavirus UK news update Covid alert drops from 5 to 4 as Queen asks Brits wary of vaccine to think abo - The Sun - February 26th, 2021
- Who is next on the priority list for Covid vaccines - and how will I be contacted? - Telegraph.co.uk - February 26th, 2021
- The Covid-19 vaccines reduce transmission. Heres the evidence. - Vox.com - February 24th, 2021
- India's Covid vaccine maker told to meet domestic demand first, urges 'rest of the world' to be patient - CNBC - February 24th, 2021
- Governor Lamont Announces Connecticut Will Continue Age-Based Approach To COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility; Educators and Childcare Providers To Have... - February 24th, 2021
- Australian Open crowd boos at mention of coronavirus vaccines and Victorian government after Novak Djokovic's win - ABC News - February 22nd, 2021
- Quixplained: What is the South African variant of Covid-19? - The Indian Express - February 20th, 2021
- Texas power outage, storm delay COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, injections - The Texas Tribune - February 20th, 2021
- How many Covid vaccinations have been given in my area? Use our postcode tool to find out - Telegraph.co.uk - February 20th, 2021
- Who is next on the priority list for Covid vaccines - and how will I be contacted? - The Telegraph - February 20th, 2021
- COVID-19 tests, not to be confused with vaccine, in LA to be available without appointment next week - FOX 11 Los Angeles - February 20th, 2021
- New coronavirus variants are emerging across the globe: Everything we know - CNET - February 18th, 2021
- Heres why some coronavirus vaccine suppliers say they arent selling to provinces - Global News - February 18th, 2021
- More Than 4 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Have Been Given in Texas; Supersites Arrive Next Week - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - February 16th, 2021
- The superspreaders behind top COVID-19 conspiracy theories - The Associated Press - February 16th, 2021
- India is set to become a vital Covid vaccine maker perhaps second only to the U.S. - CNBC - February 16th, 2021
- Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Q&A: How effective is it, and how is it different to the Pfizer vaccine? - Telegraph.co.uk - February 16th, 2021
- Boris Johnson says move to ease lockdown will be irreversible - The Independent - February 16th, 2021
- Explained: Are new Covid-19 variants detected in the US more contagious? - The Indian Express - February 16th, 2021
- 78-Year-Old Woman Dies After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine; No Link Suspected - NBC Southern California - February 14th, 2021
- Here's Who Will Be Eligible for the COVID Vaccine in Illinois Starting Next Week - NBC Chicago - February 14th, 2021
- Coronavirus UK news LIVE Britain to hit 15m Covid vaccination target TODAY as plan to get out of lockdown l - The Sun - February 14th, 2021
- A doctor had 6 hours to use a vial of COVID-19 vaccine before it expired, so he gave the shots to 10 people. For that, he was fired. - Chicago Tribune - February 12th, 2021
- Memphis surgeon dies of COVID-related illness weeks after receiving second COVID vaccine - WREG NewsChannel 3 - February 12th, 2021
- Where to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine in Austin, Travis County area - KXAN.com - February 11th, 2021
- Pfizer and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines are just the beginning. Will Australia miss out on the mRNA medical revolution? - ABC News - February 9th, 2021
- Covid UK news LIVE Over 70s URGED to chase coronavirus vaccine slots as Brits told too early to book summe - The Sun - February 9th, 2021
- UK coronavirus LIVE: Brits face third AstraZeneca vaccine as over-70s urged to contact NHS for jab - Evening Standard - February 9th, 2021
- LIVE BLOG: North Carolina bills for COVID-19 relief, mandatory in-person schooling working through General Assembly - WXII12 Winston-Salem - February 6th, 2021
- New COVID-19 prediction models forecast a potential fourth wave and how to minimize it - GeekWire - February 6th, 2021
- Covid UK news Most adults will be vaccinated by May leaked letter reveals as it emerged pub curfew to be s - The Sun - February 6th, 2021
- The priority list for the Covid vaccines - and how you will be contacted - Telegraph.co.uk - February 6th, 2021
- Select Texas CVS Pharmacy locations to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines next week - KXAN.com - February 4th, 2021
- The Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells - The Atlantic - February 4th, 2021
- You think it's taking too long for Covid vaccination? Global Vaccine Timeline stretched to 2023! - Sierra Wave - February 4th, 2021
- What to Know About Covid-19 and the 2021 Super Bowl - The New York Times - February 4th, 2021
- A Primer on the COVID-19 Vaccines Available in the United States - Davidson News - February 1st, 2021
- Go read this story about how bad software helped slow coronavirus vaccine distribution - The Verge - February 1st, 2021
- Tax season 2021: Stimulus payments, unemployment and every other major change - CNET - January 30th, 2021
- Oregon COVID-19 vaccine update: More than 300,000 people have received at least one dose - KGW.com - January 30th, 2021
- How to get the COVID-19 vaccine from Walgreens - WFLA - January 29th, 2021