CDC director rewrites history of COVID vaccines as uptake plummets, side effect research mounts

FDA ditches two-dose framework as Americans, and especially children, ignore bivalents. Young women face non-mRNA vaccine death risk, according to study that echoes controversial Florida analysis.

Published: April 20, 2023 11:03pm

As the feds abandon a one-size-fits-all COVID-19 vaccine strategy in the face of plunging booster uptake, growing research on serious adverse events and the first government payments to victims of the novel therapeutics, the CDC's director is trying to rewrite history.

In a hearing Wednesday, Rochelle Walensky told the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds her agency that COVID vaccines only stopped preventing transmission of the virus due to "an evolution of science," contradicting her own agency's uncertainty about the products during the early mass vaccination campaign and its contemporaneous data.

The exchange was prompted by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) reminding Walensky that she told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow March 29, 2021 that CDC data suggest "vaccinated people do not carry the virus" or "get sick," based on both clinical trials and "real-world data."

Walensky responded that the statement was true at the time, when the "wild-type" virus was dominant, but then revised it by saying "even if they got sick" infected people could not transmit COVID. Because of the "evolution of the virus" that's no longer true, she told Clyde.

Hearing watchers quickly noted the CDC pulled the rug out from Walensky three days after her Maddow interview in a statement to The New York Times. "The evidence isn't clear" on transmission by "fully vaccinated" people, which is "possible," the agency said.

Not only did Walensky falsely invoke the vaccine trials, which didn't test for transmission, but the CDC may have been aware of breakthrough infections when its director denied they were possible. 

The CDC showed the Times a study that found "the vast majority" — not all — of nearly 4,000 vaccinated people remained uninfected two weeks after vaccination. It set up a breakthrough infection page as early as April 16 that reported about 5,800 cases "so far," but didn't tell CNN when it started receiving them. The number crossed 10,000 by month's end.

The agency didn't respond to Just the News queries about Walensky's explanation to Rep. Clyde.

The FDA threw out a major pillar of its COVID strategy this week in its attempt to "simplify" vaccine recommendations, belatedly joining an international consensus that does not recommend vaccination across ages and risk levels.

It withdrew authorization for the original Pfizer and Moderna two-dose mRNA vaccines and told "most" vaccinated and even unvaccinated people they "may receive" a single bivalent dose. Among those already boosted with a bivalent, only elderly and immunocompromised people for now can get another dose.

Unvaccinated children up to age 5 can get a two- or three-dose bivalent, while the number of bivalent doses will depend on monovalent vaccination history for other children, the FDA said.

Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, cited the high rate of natural and vaccine immunity in the general public in explaining the revision, while still recommending everyone "consider staying current" with bivalent doses.

The bivalent booster rate is about 1 in 6 Americans, according to the CDC, but is heavily skewed toward ages 65 and up (42%) in the demographic breakdown. The rate tops out at 8% for every group under 25, and under 1% for children under 4 and under 5% for 5-11-year-olds. The latter groups' two-dose primary series rate is only 4.6% and 6%, respectively.

The two-dose framework formed the basis of COVID vaccine mandates across America, especially in higher education, where young people face low risk from COVID but disproportionate risk of heart inflammation from vaccination. 

A new Nature Communications peer-reviewed study of 12-29 year-olds in England, using National Health Service records, found a 250% increase in "risk of cardiac death in women after a first dose of non-mRNA vaccines," mostly AstraZeneca.

This represents an "astounding extra 60 cardiac deaths per million" of young women, who also had an 88% increase after the second non-mRNA dose, according to University of California San Francisco epidemiologist Tracy Beth Hoeg, who wrote a technical review of the study in the Sensible Medicine newsletter

The paper found a 70% increased risk in young men after mRNA dose two, meaning 2.8 extra deaths per million, but "the healthy vaccinee bias may have caused an underestimate of this signal," she said. The paper acknowledges it's likely underestimating risks due to the 12-week limit.

The paper's senior author, James Doidge of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Hoeg the mRNA dose-two risk in males was "honestly similar" to that observed in a controversial Florida Department of Health analysis last fall that led Twitter to censor state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo.

It found an 84% increased risk of cardiac-related death among men 18-39 over just four weeks, with Doidge noting his team's effect size was "actually larger" because of its longer time frame.  

Anti-mandate group No College Mandates recently added an "end of mandate" column to its tracker that follows publicly posted college COVID vaccination policies. About 75 ended January through March, around 30 this month, another 65 set to end in May — including the State University of New York and City University of New York systems — and fewer than 15 each in June-July and August-September. 

Some unvaccinated patients are still facing roadblocks to treatment. Liberty Counsel threatened legal action against Emory University's healthcare system, the largest in Georgia, for allegedly blocking a 41-year-old woman tentatively approved for its "active waiting list" for a kidney transplant because she has natural immunity rather than vaccine immunity. Emory Healthcare didn't respond to Just the News queries.

COVID vaccine victims got a mixed bag this month when the U.S. Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, which covers pandemic-related products, paid its first claims specific to harms caused by the novel therapeutics.

The Health Resources and Services Administration's April update lists three approved claims for COVID vaccine injuries out of more than 11,000 filed, together totalling less than $5,000, a far cry from the 5-7 figure payments approved for Guillain-Barre Syndrome victims of the H1N1 vaccine.

"These amounts are so low that you can credibly assume that this was just only for unreimbursed medical expenses, and that's it," author Wayne Rohde, whose book scrutinizes a related vaccine compensation program, told the Epoch Times.

COVID vaccine injury activists met with dozens of lawmakers and their staff last year to discuss making the system friendlier to their claims. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which covers routinely administered vaccines, is more attractive to lawyers because it allows for attorney's fees and pain-and-suffering damages.

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News