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Is DHHS about to change the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’?

My recent research brief into the breakdown of new Covid-19 infections among those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, who are fully vaccinated, or who have had prior infections needed an appendix, unfortunately.

The unfortunate part is that over the past few months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been changing and amending its definitions of “fully vaccinated,” “vaccine,” and “vaccination.”

Since the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under Gov. Roy Cooper takes a CDC recommendation and turns it into an order (or state health bureaucrat Mandy Cohen’s ridiculous attempt to grab her own emergency powers as a “secretarial directive”), should the CDC redefine “fully vaccinated,” it will create real problems for people, let alone statistical tracking.

Currently, the “fully vaccinated” are those who are at least two weeks past receiving both shots (or the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

As the brief showed, for the month of October, 26.7% of new Covid cases were to fully vaccinated individuals (and 71.4% to unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people, with only about 1.9% to people who had prior infections). With a change in definition, we’d suddenly go from 26.7% of new cases being to the “fully vaccinated” to Cohen going back to telling her credulous reporters that “unvaccinated people account for 99% of the state’s COVID-19 cases since May” — which was false according to DHHS data, but which she didn’t abandon till late July.

Watch the change in definition happen:

For example, the CDC’s definition on May 28 of “fully vaccinated” was the following: “A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 >2 weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or >2 weeks after receipt of the single dose of the Janssen vaccine.”

By October, the CDC’s definition had added the following proviso: “Administration of an [sic] or a booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated for public health purposes” (emphasis added). Not long afterward, the CDC amended that proviso to where it presently stands: “Administration of an additional primary dose or a booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated for public health purposes at this time (emphasis added).

Just last week, on Nov. 9, the CDC’s Twitter account answered “Yes” in response to the question “Am I still considered ‘fully vaccinated’ if I don’t get a COVID-19 booster shot?” This week, however, CNN reported that “The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is changing to three Covid-19 doses.” Also this week Dr. Anthony Fauci argued that receiving a “third-shot booster … should be part of the actual standard regimen.”

Of course, such a redefinition would strongly imply an ongoing series of redefinitions to push an untold, expanding number of boosters.

Imagine a scenario where people’s jobs, education, travel, grocery buying, access to government services, etc. are threatened every six months if they don’t get another booster. That very stupid dystopia is closer to becoming our reality than these power-mad officials “allowing” our lives to get back to normal. But go ahead, everyone, keep pretending as if each new Covid-excused trespass against people’s rights will be the last.

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...