CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, 52, announced that the organization would ‘pivot the language’ on COVID-19 vaccinations, lining it up with other vaccines
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it will ‘pivot’ its language when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, meaning that all who are eligible will need booster shots to be considered fully ‘up to date.’
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, 52, announced at a White House press conference on Friday that the organization is working on ‘pivoting the language’ to match those of other vaccines.
‘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 on Friday.
‘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.’
Walensky compared the COVID-19 vaccine to the flu shot, where patients aren’t considered ‘up to date’ until they receive a yearly shot. Those who do not receive a flu shot are not considered ‘up to date.’
‘In public health, for all vaccines, we’ve talked about being up to date for your vaccines. Every year, you need a flu shot; you’re not up to date with your flu shot until you’ve gotten your flu shot for that year,’ the director said.
However, the flu shot is voluntary, while COVID vaccinations have been mandated in much of the country in order to participate in most daily activities.
Walensky pointed out on Friday that the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ will not change, as 63 per cent of Americans have received the complete series of shots, but patients will be considered ‘out of date’ if they do not get the booster shot when it’s available to them, much like the flu shot
Coronavirus cases have been declining in the US, despite the number of deaths still on the rise
Roughly 83million Americans have received their booster shots
As for the definition of ‘fully vaccinated,’ the director said that isn’t changing. As long as a person has received one or two doses – depending on the vaccine received – a person can consider themselves fully vaccinated.
‘Individuals are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they’ve received their primary series. That definition is not changing,’ she said at a January 5 White House press conference.
Later in the day, Dr. Anthony Fauci, 81, tried to clarify Walensky’s comments.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, 81, backed up Walensky later on Friday, and said Americans need to stop ‘fixating’ the terminology and that ‘it’s more of, are you up to date on your vaccinations’
‘She meant keeping up to date, as opposed of getting rid of that terminology and fixating on what “fully vaccinated” means. It’s more of, are you up to date on your vaccinations,’ he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
‘One of the things that we’re talking about from a purely public health standpoint is how well you are protected, rather than what a definition is to get someone to be required or not required.’
Around 210million Americans are fully vaccinated, or roughly 63 percent, by the current definition, while 83million have received a booster shot, or roughly a third.
COVID-19 deaths are continuing to rise in the US, even as cases have begun to fall. The nation recorded 3,564 new deaths on Friday – the fourth consecutive day where over 2,000 COVID-19 deaths were added to the ledger, the first time that has happened since Christmas, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Friday’s grim toll was the highest single-day total since 3,864 died from COVID-19 on January 28, 2021, barely a month after the first vaccines were rolled out in the U.S. The all-time single-day mark of 4,422 was set on January 20, 2021, according to Johns Hopkins.
Deaths have lagged behind cases during the pandemic, with trends in mortality often trailing a few weeks behind cases. The U.S. logged 879,877 new infections on Friday, dropping the seven-day average to 734,302 – down six percent over the past week.
The virus has slowly moved across the US, leaving some of the more populated regions along the east coast and causing cases to rise in the Midwest and Great Plains. It has been a trend for more than a week now, as case growth slows in the east while states west of the Mississippi start to suffer.
‘The trajectory is kinda baked in right now,’ Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and current board member at Pfizer, said.
‘You are seeing cases rapidly decline in the East Coast and Florida. You are also seeing cases come down in California and seeing hospitalizations fall. But the infection is spreading to the Midwest.’
Nearly 9million people called out sick with COVID-19 in the early part of January
States like New Jersey, New York and Maryland, that were hit hard and fast by the Omicron variant at the end of 2021 and now seeing cases begin to rocket upwards.
New Jersey is leading the nation in case decline, with daily infections dropping 54 percent over the past two weeks – now recording 159 cases per every 100,000 residents. Just behind is its neighbor New York, which has seen cases fall by 49 percent over the last 14 days.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday morning on Twitter that the state’s test positivity rate has dropped below ten percent for the first time since December 20.
‘We’re in the single digits, New York! For the first time since December 20, our COVID-19 positivity rate is under 10 percent,’ she wrote.
In total, 12 US states are recording declining cases over the past two weeks. All of them, sans Illinois, are along the east coast. While Illinois is squarely in the mid-West, its case trajectory often matches that of east coast states due to its massive population center in Chicago.
America’s workforce has been hit hard by Omicron, with 8.8million people calling out of work in the first two weeks of January. It is nearly three times the number in early December, before Omicron struck, with sat at 3million.
Meanwhile, unemployment claims rose by 55,000 to 286,000 for last week, the highest level since mid-July as Omicron drives new rounds of layoffs.