WASHINGTON — COVID-19 vaccine will not stop transmission of the virus, U.S. Centers for Disease Control Rochelle Walensky said Thursday.
“Our vaccines are working exceptionally well,” Walensky told CNN in an interview on Thursday, Aug. 5. “They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death – they prevent it. But what they can't do anymore is prevent transmission.”
Walensky said fully vaccinated persons can still get COVID and transmit it to others. The CDC director’s comments about coronavirus vaccines come as the Delta variant of the virus accounts for the majority of new cases and has resulted in new hotspots in Florida, Texas and Louisiana.
Dr. Jinlene Chan, Maryland’s deputy state health secretary, also said Thursday that there are indications that fully vaccinated persons "who may be infected with delta and who may then be able to infect others."
The Delta strain of COVID and slowing vaccination rates have prompted some employers mandating vaccines for their workers, government vaccine mandates for health care workers, military personnel and federal workers and some renewed indoor mask mandates — including for the fully vaccinated.
New York City is adopting vaccine passports requiring proof of shots to get into restaurants, concerts and other venues. Those mirror vaccine passes being imposed in European countries as concerns about the Delta and other potential variants drive fresh mandates and restrictions.
Walenksy, other government health officials and elected officials such as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan are stressing the vaccines can lessen the impacts of COVID.
“This virus thrives in places that are not equipped to counter it and that is why the amount of transmission right now is occurring by and large in those who are unvaccinated,” Walensky said
Hogan – who criticized the unvaccinated during a Thursday press briefing — said the vaccine helps prevent greater spread and more serious reactions to COVID.
“There is nothing more effective at saving lives and keeping people out of the hospital than the vaccines, which are doing exactly what they were designed to do, which is preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and death. If you are among the nearly 78 percent of Maryland adults who have been vaccinated, your chances of getting sick and hospitalized are extremely low, and your chances of dying are almost nonexistent,” Hogan said referring to state residents who have received at least one shot.
State health officials said Thursday there have been 53 COVID deaths from Marylanders who have been fully vaccinated since January — accounting for 3.7% of deaths linked to the virus.