CDC's Walensky "pivots" on fully vaccinated language
One is not "fully vaccinated" anymore, they are "up to date" with their shots
During a Friday, Jan. 21 COVID-19 response team briefing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky responded to questions about boosters being required to be considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Walensky said the CDC would “pivot” its language on the matter, from “fully vaccinated” to “up to date” with their shots.
“What we really are working to do is pivot the language to make sure that everybody is as up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines as they personally could be, should be, based on when they got their last vaccine,” Walensky said.
"So, importantly, right now, we’re pivoting our language,'“ Walensky continued. “We really want to make sure people are up to date. That means if you recently got your second dose, you’re not eligible for a booster, you’re up to date. If you are eligible for a booster and you haven’t gotten it, you’re not up to date and you need to get your booster in order to be up to date.”
The language may create chaos for businesses and schools, which up until now had relied on a definition of “fully vaccinated” as meaning a full series of one of the approved vaccines and not including a booster shot.
Walensky’s “pivot” contradicts her statements made just earlier this month at a COVID Response Team briefing at the White House on Jan. 5.
At that time, Walensky said "individuals are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they’ve received their primary series” and “that definition is not changing."
According to CDC data, around 39.3% of Americans previously considered fully vaccinated have received a booster shot. That figure includes people not yet eligible (kids under 12) and those who very recently had a shot.
The CDC’s booster pivot clashes with advice that came just days earlier from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top physician, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan.
On Jan. 18, Swaminathan stressed boosters should be for the vulnerable and said there was “no evidence at all” healthy children should get boosted.
“The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at highest risk of severe disease and dying” said Swaminathan. “Those are our elderly populations, immunocompromised, people with underlying conditions, but also healthcare workers.”
She also added “there’s no evidence right now that healthy children, or healthy adolescents, need boosters. No evidence at all.”
Swaminathan’s remarks come roughly two weeks after the CDC approved booster shots for kids ages 12 to 17 during a surge in the Omicron variant, which has proven to be less severe than other strains. So far, no strain of COVID, including Delta, has appeared to produce severe cases of COVID in healthy children.
North Carolina’s posted vaccination rates as of Jan. 23 were above 90% for the most vulnerable age group of 65 years and up.
Rates for children ages five to 18 were all well over the 50% threshold in their specific ages ranges as seen below:
NCDHHS’s data also includes booster shot details, which are significantly lower.
Data has shown that children and teens are not at high risk for severe cases of COVID, yet the CDC and state health agencies continue to push vaccination programs with a continued emphasis on children.
In North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has had a teen vaccination campaign in place since late last August.