- THE DEFENDER - Maryanne Demasi, Ph.D. - APRIL 20, 2023 -
In testimony she provided this week to the House Committee on Appropriations, Dr. Rochelle Walensky defended telling the public that people who received COVID-19 vaccines “do not carry the virus, they do not get sick,” claiming the statement was accurate “at the time.”
This week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky provided witness testimony to the House Committee on Appropriations responsible for overseeing the funding of various federal programs related to labor, health, education and other related agencies.
But serious questions have been raised about the veracity of Walensky’s testimony.
Congressman Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) asked Walensky if her March 2021 public statement on MSNBC, in which she unequivocally said that “vaccinated people do not carry the virus, they do not get sick” was accurate. “At the time it was [accurate],” Walensky replied confidently.
She then proceeded to explain, “We’ve had an evolution of the science and an evolution of the virus” and that “all the data at the time suggested that vaccinated people, even if they got sick, could not transmit the virus.”
However, there was no such evidence at the time and it prompted criticism from scientists who said there wasn’t enough data to claim that vaccinated people were completely protected or that they could not transmit the virus to others.
One of those critics was Jay Bhattacharya, professor of health policy at Stanford University School of Medicine.
“Back then, Walensky didn’t know if it was true. It was just an irresponsible use of a bully pulpit as a CDC director to say something that she did not know for certain to be true at the time,” said Bhattacharya.
“Unfortunately, people used that information to discriminate against unvaccinated individuals and would certainly have been used as fuel for very destructive policies like vaccine mandates,” he added.
Notably, only days after Walensky made that statement to MSNBC, a spokesperson from her own agency had to walk back the comments saying, “Dr. Walensky spoke broadly in this interview” adding that it was possible for fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19.
Did Walensky miss the memo?
Walensky should have known that when mRNA vaccines were first authorized in 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listed critical “gaps” in the knowledge base. One of them was the vaccine’s unknown effectiveness against viral transmission.
Also, in Pfizer’s and Moderna’s original pivotal trials, there were 8 and 11 people respectively, who developed symptomatic COVID-19 in the vaccine group, proving the vaccines never had absolute effectiveness, like Walensky had claimed.