Story at a glance

  • In an interview with CBS' “Face the Nation,” Gottlieb noted that the vaccines were developed primarily to reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death.
  • “The second premise around these vaccines is that they would reduce the incidence of infection, any infection, including asymptomatic infection, and they can also reduce the risk of transmission,” he said.
  • “That premise is still intact, but what we see with the delta variant is it’s diminished,” he added.

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says COVID-19 vaccines remain powerfully effective against severe illness and death despite early evidence fully vaccinated people are more likely to spread the delta variant than earlier strains. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week released data indicating fully vaccinated people who got breakthrough infections carried about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots. 

The research was key in the health agency’s decision to recommend that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where infections are surging. 

In an interview with CBS' “Face the Nation,” Gottlieb noted that the vaccines were developed primarily to reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. 


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“Remember, the original premise behind these vaccines were that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials. That premise is still fully intact,” he said. 

“The second premise around these vaccines is that they would reduce the incidence of infection, any infection, including asymptomatic infection, and they can also reduce the risk of transmission,” he said. 

“That premise is still intact, but what we see with the delta variant is it’s diminished. There is more evidence that people are likely to spread the delta variant even after vaccination than they were likely to spread the other variants. But it’s still a very small percentage of people.”


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Published on Aug 02, 2021