Does the CDC really have no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines reduce the spread of the virus, and help prevent new variants from emerging?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : CDC Has No Proof Vaccines Reduce Spread + Variants!
People are sharing a post on X (formerly Twitter) by Zachary Stieber of The Epoch Times, which claims or suggests that the CDC has no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines reduce the spread of the virus, and help prevent new variants from emerging.
Zachary Stieber : CDC says no records supporting COVID statement that “high vaccination coverage in a population reduces the spread of the virus and helps prevent new variants from emerging.”
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Truth : CDC Has Evidence Vaccines Reduce Spread + Variants!
Let’s take a look at what’s going on with this startling “new claim”, and find out what the facts really are!
Fact #1 : FOIA Is Only For Non-Public Information
Let me start by pointing out that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows members of the public to request for documents that are not publicly available from US federal agencies (source).
Every US federal agency has a FOIA office that will process each request, which may include redacting sensitive or protected information if necessary. But if the information requested is already in the public domain, no such documents would be made available through a FOIA request.
Before making a request, first see if the information is already publicly available. You can find a lot of useful information on a range of topics on each agency’s website.
If the information you want is not publicly available, you can submit a FOIA request to the agency’s FOIA Office. The request simply must be in writing and reasonably describe the records you seek.
As you can see, it would be quite silly to submit a FOIA request for documents that are already available publicly… unless what you want is a letter from the agency stating it failed to locate any such documents?
Fact #2 : CDC Could Not Find Any Non-Public Documents
The CDC response to Zachary Stieber’s FOIA request is not an admission that it has no evidence or proof to back up its claim that high vaccination rates will reduce the spread of the virus, and help prevent new variants from emerging.
Rather, the CDC FOIA office appears to be informing Stieber that it could not find any non-public documents that it would be required to process under the Freedom of Information Act. In other words – all available information is in the public domain.
Fact #3 : FOIA Is Not For Basic Science Questions
The Freedom of Information Act is meant to provide transparency to US citizens through the full or partial disclosure of “previously unreleased or uncirculated information“. It is not meant for people to ask basic science questions.
You can’t use FOIA requests, for example, to ask for records from the CDC on how vaccines reduce the spread of a virus, or how vaccines can help prevent new virus variants from emerging. These are basic virology knowledge that are already available publicly!
Those who want to ask those questions should take up a course, or read some books on virology; not submit FOIA requests on such basic virology questions from the CDC. Of course, they would have no “unreleased” information on such basic topics!
It is therefore no surprise that the CDC FOIA office pointed out to Stieber that he was asking an academic question about the basics of virology.
Dear Mr. Stieber:
This letter is in response to your Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of May 12, 2022, for:
Please provide documents supporting the CDC’s statement that “High vaccination coverage in a population reduces the spread of the virus and helps prevent new variants from emerging.
A search of our records failed to reveal any documents pertaining to your request. Specifically, the EOC apprises as follows:
We do not have records related to this request, as the request puts forth what is really an academic question about the basics of virology.
You can literally picture the eye roll and face palm of the unfortunate CDC staffer processing this peculiar request.
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Fact #4 : Studies Have Shown Vaccines Reduce Spread + Variants
The CDC reply also pointed out to Stieber that many studies have already shown that vaccines reduce infections and the spread of the virus; and that reducing infections mean there are fewer opportunities for the virus to replicate and mutate into new variants.
Many studies have been done concluding that viral infection and spread is lower among highly vaccinated populations. If infection and therefore replication are reduced, there are fewer opportunities for the virus to make errors during replication that might be selected for during infection, which is what leads to the emergence of new variants.
Too bad the CDC did not include a list of basic virology books to demonstrate how long ago such basic questions have been answered by science, and taught to medical students and allied health professionals.
Fact #5 : CDC Does Not Conduct Fundamental Research
The same CDC letter also points out to Stieber that it does not generally conduct such fundamental scientific research, and only applies fundamental research towards public health policies. Hence, it would have no documents to offer in response to his FOIA request.
CDC does not generally conduct research into such fundamentals, but rather applies fundamental research to public health.
As noted on its official Vaccine Effectiveness Studies page, the CDC collaborates with public health partners that actually conduct those studies, which it then uses to provide its advisories.
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Fact #6 : This Is An Old Story
Frankly, this story about CDC not having any records to back up its claims that “High vaccination coverage in a population reduces the spread of the virus and helps prevent new variants from emerging” isn’t new.
The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) – which has been labelled as one of the main anti-vaccination groups in the United States, posted a story about it on 10 May 2022. So it is interesting to see this being resurrected almost two years later. No new material?
Even ICAN was late to the party, because I pinpointed the first time the CDC made that claim to 4 October 2021. This was right after the CDC approved the first Pfizer vaccine booster dose in September 2021 for people 65 years and older, long-term care facility residents, and people with certain underlying conditions.
Can COVID-19 vaccines cause variants?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not create or cause variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
New variants of a virus happen because the virus that causes COVID-19 constantly changes through a natural ongoing process of mutation (change). Even before the COVID-19 vaccines, there were several variants of the virus. Looking ahead, variants are expected to continue to emerge as the virus continues to change.
COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent new variants from emerging. As it spreads, the virus has more opportunities to change. High vaccination coverage in a population reduces the spread of the virus and helps prevent new variants from emerging.
As you can see, the CDC already explained (back in October 2021!) how vaccines reduce new variants from emerging – by reducing infections in the population.
This is publicly available information. You don’t even need to submit a FOIA request!
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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