CNN analyst scolds Biden for ‘irresponsible’ COVID vaccine rhetoric
Dr. Leana Wen says President Biden’s comments at his CNN town hall about the coronavirus vaccines in the wake of the Delta variant were irresponsible.
CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said she was “disappointed” by President Joe Biden’s performance in a Wednesday town hall when it came to his answers on questions concerning the coronavirus and vaccines.
Discussing the CNN town hall with a panel immediately following the event, Wen felt Biden wasn’t “meeting the realities of what’s happening on the ground” concerning the virus, that some of his answers to questions were “irresponsible,” and that he “led people astray” when he claimed vaccinated people were “well-protected” against the Delta variant of the virus.
“I was actually disappointed by President Biden’s … answers tonight because I actually thought that he was answering questions as if it were a month ago,” Wen said after host Anderson Cooper pointed out that some of Biden’s answers were “factually wrong.”
“He’s not really meeting the realities of what’s happening on the ground,” she said before describing the escalation of cases across the country caused by the delta variant.
Wen claimed that experts didn’t yet have answers to many questions surrounding vaccines and the Delta variant, such as to what degree a vaccinated person is protected from mild illness, and how contagious they potentially could still be to other people if they were carrying the virus. “I actually thought [his answer] was irresponsible,” she added.
She went on to say that the vaccine reduces a person’s likelihood of carrying the virus, as well as the amount of the virus they would carry, but that a person carries 1,000 times more of the delta variant compared to previous strains of the virus.
“I think that President Biden actually led people astray when he said if you’re vaccinated you can take off your mask. We don’t know that,” Wen said, referring to an instance in the town hall that Biden claimed, “If you’re vaccinated, you shouldn’t wear a mask.”
“I think he let go of a really important opportunity tonight. I think he could have said to the audience you all are protected because everybody here is vaccinated. You’re safe if you’re vaccinated and everybody around you is vaccinated,” she said. “But if you are vaccinated and are around people who are unvaccinated, you should be keeping a mask on. Getting the vaccine can save your life, but I actually think that President Biden’s message could have led people astray.”
During the town hall, Biden touted the vaccinations, saying at one point, “you’re OK, you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” Although highly effective in preventing contraction and transmission, they are not 100-percent guaranteed to prevent getting the virus.
“I think he probably would have added the word ‘severe’ before COVID,” former White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt said Thursday, noting almost all recent COVID hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people.
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