President Joe Biden falsely claimed vaccinated Americans could not get infected with COVID-19 during a July 21, 2021, CNN presidential town hall.
The president made the remarks exactly one year before he contracted COVID-19 during the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant.
“We’re not in a position where we think that any virus, including the Delta virus [variant], which is much more transmissible and more deadly in terms of non-vaccinated people. The various shots that people are getting now cover that,” the president said. “They’re okay, you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced Thursday that the president tested positive and is taking Paxlovid. She assured the public he is fully vaccinated and boosted and is experiencing mild symptoms such as a runny nose, fatigue, and the “occasional dry mouth” which began yesterday evening. (RELATED: Biden Says 97% To 98% Of Americans Need To Be Vaccinated Before Returning To Normal)
He received his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine in March 2020 and a second dose in January 2021. He received two booster shots, the first in September and the second in March. The president last tested negative for COVID-19 on June 12, the White House said.
He told reporters Tuesday that people need to get vaccinated in order to stop the rising cases of COVID. The president also made similar claims in a December 2021 interview that vaccinated individuals cannot spread COVID-19.
“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Not the vaccinated, the unvaccinated. That’s the problem,” Biden said in the interview. “Everybody talks about freedom about not to have a shot or have a test. Well guess what? How about patriotism? How about you make sure you’re vaccinated, so you do not spread the disease to anyone else.”
White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said in May 2021 that the vaccinated people become “dead ends” for the virus due to the high unlikelihood that vaccinated individuals will spread it.
Several medical professionals and experts warned that vaccinations can reduce the spread of the virus, but not eliminate it entirely, according to PolitiFact. Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, said breakthrough infections could still occur.
“We knew that vaccinated people could become infected with delta and shed viable virus in large amounts,” Hanage said. “While data are emerging and not yet complete for omicron, this appears to be even more the case for that variant.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, the COVID adviser under former President Donald Trump’s administration, testified that the U.S. was not “lying” but instead “hopeing” that the vaccines would prevent the transmission of COVID-19 during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in June.
Currently, 67% of the U.S. population have received two doses of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite the majority being vaccinated, cases have been gradually rising since April.