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Biden adviser acknowledges messaging ‘problem’ surrounding COVID-19 immunity and travel


A top epidemiologist and member of President Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board acknowledged that a messaging “problem” exists surrounding whether Americans are completely safe from contracting COVID-19 after being vaccinated and if they should travel.

During an interview with Michael Osterholm on “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace noted that many Americans are unsure whether activities such as air travel are safe for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s not perfect, it’s not 100 percent [protection from COVID-19],” Osterholm said of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S.

“We do have a problem right now from a public health standpoint nuancing that message,” he continued, adding that Americans should still “avoid [travel] if it’s nonessential,” even after being vaccinated.

He went on to specify that these measures would likely not be in place for the rest of the year, calling them temporary but necessary to blunt a new wave of infections.

“This is short term, all we’re trying to do is get over this surge of cases,” Osterholm said.

“The future looks bright, especially this summer,” he added.

Osterholm said during a separate appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that when people get vaccinated, “it’s like buying a fireproof suit that works 95 percent of the time.” 

“I think the message was consistent, although it may have confused the public,” he added.

His comments come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in new guidance on Friday that fully vaccinated people can safely travel.

Roughly a third of U.S. adults have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far.

Health officials have warned, however, that another surge of cases may be incoming as numerous locations have relaxed restrictions on public life and businesses following a large spike in cases over the winter.

–Updated at 11:03 a.m.

Tags Chris Wallace Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Joe Biden Michael Osterholm

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