Is the CDC trying to deter the vaccine-hesitant from getting jabbed?


If you want more Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, emphasizing that they could still catch the disease and transmit it to others even after they get their shots may not be the best strategy. Yet that’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did last week, generating “alarmist” and “hyperbolic” press coverage that dismayed Biden administration officials who rightly worried that it would deter vaccination. Major news outlets deserve criticism for hyping the danger posed by breakthrough infections. But they were taking their cues from federal officials who exaggerated that danger, even while trying to reassure the public about the effectiveness of vaccines. With COVID-19 cases caused by the especially contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus surging in many parts of the country, the main priority should be persuading vaccine-leery Americans that widespread inoculation is the key to conquering the pandemic and returning to normal life. Notwithstanding the Delta variant, vaccines remain highly effective at preventing life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms, as reflected in the fact that vaccinated Americans account for a tiny share of hospitalizations and deaths.

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