INDIANAPOLIS — The number of new COVID-19 cases diagnosed across the country is climbing quickly, and concerns about the delta variant are growing as well.
Those circumstances give added urgency to the continued push from medical experts, governments, schools, businesses, social groups and others for people to get the vaccine.
So, President Joe Biden's comments about the vaccine at a recent CNN Town Hall certainly drew attention.
During the July 21 event in Cincinnati, Biden said, "You're not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations."
The internet lit up with questions and comments about that claim.
Troy contacted VERIFY. "I wanted to know if President Biden is spreading disinformation regarding Covid and the Vaccine…It appears this could be false information intended to mislead. I trust you will seek out the truth and I would be thrilled if 'these vaccines' mean you won't get Covid."
Will getting the COVID-19 vaccine prevent someone from contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine is not guaranteed to stop people from contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
WHAT WE FOUND
"But again, one last thing. I — we don’t talk enough to you about this, I don't think. One last thing that's really important is: We're not in a position where we think that any virus — including the Delta virus, which is much more transmissible and more deadly in terms of non — unvaccinated people….The various shots that people are getting now cover that…. You're OK. You're not going to — you're not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations."
Health experts around the country agree that the vaccine will not guarantee that the recipient will not get COVID-19.
"The vaccines were never designed to prevent you from being infected by COVID-19," explained Dixon. "Vaccines protect us from the side effects, if you will, of infection…”
Duszynski said, "No vaccine is 100% effective 100% of the time. But being fully vaccinated should protect these individuals from severe disease and hospitalization."
Several places on the CDC's website, the agency tells readers, "No vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people."
The CDC goes on to explain that medical experts and vaccine makers expect breakthrough cases — cases of COVID-19 in people who are fully vaccinated.
"There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19," according to the CDC website. "Like with other vaccines, vaccine breakthrough cases will occur, even though the vaccines are working as expected. Asymptomatic infections among vaccinated people will also occur."
Breakthrough cases are rare, according to statistics from the Indiana State Department of Health.
As of July 29, only 0.126% of fully vaccinated Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19. That is 3,710 cases among the nearly 3 million people vaccinated in Indiana.
The percentage of fully vaccinated people who have been hospitalized — 0.005% — is miniscule.
The state also reports that 0.002% of fully vaccinated people have died. Of those 56 deaths reported by July 29, the average age is 79.
Dixon acknowledged that seeing any cases after vaccination can cause concerns for some people.
"I think that the that the numbers around breakthrough cases do lower confidence, because I think some people mistakenly believe that the vaccine should protect you from getting infected. But really what vaccine effectiveness does is prevent you from getting sick to the point where you need to be hospitalized on a ventilator, and on death's bed, as what we're seeing these people who are unvaccinated going through right now."
The day after the town hall, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president was trying to say that people who have the vaccine are "largely protected."
Here is the transcript of the press briefing when NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell asked about President’s comment:
O’Donnell: Last night, the President said, "You're not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations." Why did he say that when that is not what the science says?
PSAKI: Well, what the science says is that 97 percent of hospitalizations are people who are unvaccinated. So, yes, there are cases of individuals who are vaccinated, to be absolutely clear, who — who do have — gotten COVID. It is a very small percentage and a small number of people.
And those cases — vast, vast, vast majority are asymptomatic and they have — they have minor symptoms, which means that you are largely protected. That was the point he was trying to make last night.
At another point in the town hall, Biden did seem to acknowledge that it was possible to catch the virus even after being fully vaccinated.
Duszynski noted that the vaccines do seem to have some effectiveness against different strains of the virus. "These vaccines, even against the delta variant, which we've heard so much about, is still really effective and should be recommended and people encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible."
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