President Joe Biden claimed that Americans who get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will gain complete protection against the disease, preventing hospitalization and death.
“You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” Biden said Wednesday while speaking at a televised town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio. “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die,” he added.
The president said his comments accurately capture that the COVID-19 vaccines have proven that they are able to provide protection against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus and that there is evidence that they can reduce the severity of the illness—explaining a small percentage of people fully vaccinated who caught the disease.
But the president largely omitted so-called “breakthrough cases” that have been widely reported.
As of July 12, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said federal health officials have tallied 5,189 people fully vaccinated against the CCP virus who required hospitalization. The CCP virus is a contagious virus that originated in China and causes the disease COVID-19.
In the latest update, the agency said 1,063 fully vaccinated patients have died, amounting to 19 percent of the total. It noted that 26 percent of fatal cases were reported as asymptomatic or not related to COVID-19. About 75 percent percent of hospitalizations and deaths from breakthrough cases occurred among individuals over the age of 65.
The CDC update also came as Israeli officials said in late June that during a recent outbreak of COVID-19, about half of the adults infected in the recent outbreak were fully vaccinated.
In an update on May 1, the CDC said health officials have “transitioned from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause.”
A sudden spike of 12,313 reports of death among those who received a COVID-19 vaccine to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System was deemed an “error” and revised to 5,913.
Biden also said that he doesn’t know of any person fully vaccinated against the CCP virus who was hospitalized or has died. The president made the remark as he responded to a reporter who asked him about Americans who have been vaccinated and still contract the disease.
“It may be possible, I know of none where they’re hospitalized, in ICU and or have passed away so at a minimum I can say even if they did contract it, which I’m sorry they did, it’s such a tiny percentage and it’s not life-threatening,” the president said.
Again, his comment conflicts with the CDC’s findings that more than 5,000 vaccinated people were hospitalized and more than 1,000 died as of July 12.
At the time of this publication, 159 million Americans have been fully vaccinated.
So-called breakthrough cases refer to cases appearing two or more weeks after a person’s final shot, that is, the second Pfizer or Moderna dose or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected,” the CDC states on its website. “COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100 percent effective at preventing illness. There will be a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.