Walensky Says CDC Is ‘Pivoting The Language’ On Vaccination Definitions

Jennifer E. Engen

While those who has completed their original covid vaccine protocol will still be defined as “fully vaccinated,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says the agency will start emphasizing the need to be “up to date” with a booster shot. Walensky also spoke about the state of the U.S. public health system during an interview with Politico.

Walensky: CDC Language “Pivoting” On “Fully Vaccinated” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not changing the definition of “fully vaccinated,” but is instead “pivoting the language” to get people “up to date” on their vaccinations, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said Friday. Walensky’s remarks come after health officials and Walensky herself have gone back and forth on whether or not they would change the definition of “fully vaccinated” with the emergence of the Omicron variant. (Doherty, 1/21)

The Shifting Definition Of Fully Vaccinated 

The definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” is evolving even as the CDC has remained careful not to officially change it. CDC officials have been balancing the job of convincing Americans who’ve already gotten two doses of the importance of boosters with getting many Americans who still need their first doses to get their shots at all. “What we’re really working to do is pivot the language to make sure everyone is up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines as they personally could be, should be based on when they got their last vaccine,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing. (Reed, 1/24)

‘The CDC Alone Can’t Fix This’: Walensky Calls For Overhaul Of U.S. Public Health System

The U.S. needs to rethink its approach to tackling Covid-19 by rebuilding the nation’s public health system, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said in an interview with POLITICO. It’s been a year since Walensky took over the public health agency and the country has gone through a vaccine rollout, seen variants emerge and witnessed three massive surges. To Walensky, the pandemic shows no signs of vanishing. This week, an average of 740,000 infections were reported each day. On Thursday, the day she spoke with POLITICO, more than 2,400 people were reported as having died from Covid-19. (Banco, 1/21)

Some places are requiring the booster to be considered fully vaxxed —

Maui Now:
Booster Required On Maui To Be Considered Fully Vaccinated

Come Monday, a COVID-19 booster shot will be required for eligible individuals in order to be considered fully vaccinated in Maui County. Proof of a booster will be required to confirm patrons are “up to date” with their vaccination, if they want to dine indoors at a restaurant or bar, or exercise inside of a gym. (Osher, 1/21)

Travel + Leisure:
Spain To Require A Booster Shot For Travelers Next Month — What To Know 

Travelers heading to Spain will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 booster dose starting next month, becoming the latest country to rely on the extra shot. Starting Feb. 1, most international travelers, including from the United States, will be required to show proof they have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine no more than 270 days (about 9 months) after the last dose of their initial vaccine series, according to Spain’s tourism site. (Fox, 1/21)

In other news from the Biden administration —

One Year In, How Much Of Trump’s Health Agenda Has Biden Undone? 

It’s been a year since President Joe Biden took the reins of the federal executive branch, and with them the power to undo health policies of his predecessor. So how much has this administration accomplished? It depends on how — and what — you count. Biden or his health officials were quick to reverse many of the policies President Donald Trump implemented that did not require formal regulations. Those include having the U.S. rejoin the World Health Organization, rolling back the “Mexico City” policy that banned aid or international organizations that support abortion rights, and canceling a ban on the use of federal funds to study fetal tissue from elective abortions. (Rovner, 1/21)

The New York Times:
Biden’s Pandemic Fight: Inside The Setbacks Of The First Year 

Dr. Rochelle Walensky was stunned. Working from her home outside Boston on a Friday night in late July, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had just learned from members of her staff that vaccinated Americans were spreading the coronavirus. Vaccines had been the core of President Biden’s pandemic strategy from the moment he took office. But as Dr. Walensky was briefed about a cluster of breakthrough cases in Provincetown, Mass., the reality sank in. The Delta variant, which had ravaged other parts of the world, was taking hold in the United States. And being vaccinated would not, it turned out, prevent people from becoming infected with the variant or transmitting it. (Shear, Stolberg, LaFraniere and Weiland, 1/23)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

Walensky Says CDC Is ‘Pivoting The Language’ On Vaccination Definitions

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