CDC Walks Back Comments From Director Rochelle Walensky Suggesting Vaccinated People Don’t Become Infected Or Transmit The Virus

Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images

Font Size:

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) walked back comments made by Director Rochelle Walensky that vaccinated people can’t get or transmit the coronavirus.

“Dr. Walensky spoke broadly during this interview,” a CDC spokesman told The New York Times on Thursday. “It’s possible that some people who are fully vaccinated could get Covid-19. The evidence isn’t clear whether they can spread the virus to others. We are continuing to evaluate the evidence.” (RELATED: Chicago Mayor Refuses To Follow Rest Of Illinois, Will Not Open COVID-19 Vaccines To All Due To ‘Quantum Leap’ In Cases)

“Our data from the C.D.C. today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick,” Walensky said during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “And that it’s not just in the clinical trials, it’s also in real-world data.”

Although Walensky noted that CDC data showed that one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 80% effective at preventing coronavirus infections and two doses were 90% effective, her comments were interpreted by many people to mean that vaccines were fully effective against infection or transmission, NYT reported. Walensky also said that it was important to continue to wear masks and keep safety measures in place. (RELATED: ‘If You Guys Want A Gun Show’: Gov. DeSantis Might Not Get Vaccinated On Camera Unless People Really Want To See It)

“If Dr. Walensky had said most vaccinated people do not carry virus, we would not be having this discussion,” John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told the NYT. “What we know is the vaccines are very substantially effective against infection — there’s more and more data on that — but nothing is 100 percent. It is an important public health message that needs to be gotten right.”

A study of 3,950 health care workers, emergency responders, and others at a high risk of infection showed that the vast majority of people who received the vaccine remained virus-free after two weeks. A separate clinical trial published by Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday showed that 77 people had a coronavirus infection after getting the vaccine compared to 850 people who were given a placebo.

“Clearly, some vaccinated people do get infected,” the director of the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh, Paul Duprex, told the Times. “We’re stopping symptoms, we’re keeping people out of hospitals. But we’re not making them completely resistant to an infection.”