Pfizer says testing shows booster restores full protection against COVID-19
Former Trump official says 'just a matter of time' before unvaccinated get delta variant
Brett Giroir, former President Trump's coronavirus testing czar, on Thursday urged anyone who has not yet gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 to quickly do so, arguing that it is "just a matter of time" before all unvaccinated individuals become infected with the delta variant of the virus.
The ex-Trump official, in an interview on Fox News's "America Reports," emphasized health guidance that the potential side effects of the coronavirus vaccine "pale in comparison to what you will get if you get the COVID infection," adding that the highly transmissible delta variant poses an even greater risk.
"If you have not been vaccinated, and you have not had COVID before, you will get the delta variant," Giroir argued. "This is so infectious that you will get it."
He went on to say that while a previous COVID-19 infection may give some natural immunity, it is not clear how long this protection lasts, adding, "The evidence is mounting that even natural immunity will not protect you against delta."
"It is just a matter of time," he argued. "Remember, you can get the flu every year. It's not because your immunity isn't good, it's because the flu changes, and delta is really a new strain that is different than everything we've seen."
"I am really concerned that natural immunity, although real, is not going to be sufficient against delta," Giroir continued. "If you don't have natural immunity and you're not vaccinated, you're going to get delta, so prevent it by getting your vaccine."
The remarks from Trump's former assistant health secretary mirror concerns reportedly highlighted in an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) memo that cites research showing the delta variant could be more infectious than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu and smallpox and just as contagious as chickenpox.
The document, which was obtained by both The Washington Post and The New York Times, also reportedly says that the delta strain may cause worse illnesses than other versions of COVID-19 and that vaccinated individuals may transmit the variant just as easily as unvaccinated groups.
The research, which the news outlets reported will likely be released in full on Friday, was used as justification for the CDC's altered guidance this week that fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks in public, indoor settings in areas of the country with "substantial" or "high" levels of transmission of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the CDC said that about 67 percent of U.S. counties have transmission rates high enough to warrant indoor mask mandates.
A federal official who has seen the CDC research told the Times that the agency is "very concerned with the data coming in that delta is a very serious threat that requires action now."