‘Fact checker’ covers for CDC claim it changed its definition of ‘vaccine’ to ‘increase transparency’

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Instead of calling out and holding power accountable, which is the true purpose of journalism, it appears the establishment press is once again providing cover for it.

On Wednesday the Associated Press published a supposed “fact-check” defending both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and what critics say is the CDC’s shoddy branch of “science.”

The “fact-check” specifically takes issue with a tweet published earlier this month by Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie. The tweet consisted of three definitions of “vaccination,” all taken from the CDC’s websites.

Prior to the Biden administration taking office, the CDC defined vaccination as the “act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.” But in September of 2021, the agency changed the definition to mean the “act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease.”


The AP’s “fact-check” admits that this change in definition occurred.

“The AP was able to verify through web archives that the language on a CDC page titled ‘Immunization Basics,’ has changed in these ways over time,” the “fact-check” reads.

At issue, the AP complains, is “the false suggestion that the definition changes prove the vaccines don’t work” as intended, i.e., they’re not as effective as anticipated. This “suggestion” is “false,” the AP argues, because the CDC said so.

“The CDC told the AP in a statement that it made the language shifts to add detail and increase transparency,” the “fact-check” reads.

In a statement to the AP, the CDC said that the previous definition could have been “interpreted to mean that vaccines were 100% effective, which has never been the case for any vaccine.”

Case closed? Not exactly …

The “fact-check” prompted a flurry of backlash and mockery, including from Massie.


Critics accused the CDC of changing the definition of vaccination because the administration’s original claims about its effectiveness had turned out to be false.

There is evidence to back up this charge. President Joe Biden himself repeatedly said last year that those vaccinated for COVID can’t contract or spread the disease.

However, the CDC has for its part never made such a claim, though CDC Director Rochelle Walensky did suggest it during an MSNBC interview on March 29th, 2021.

“Our data from the CDC today suggests, you know, that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials but it’s also in real-world data,” she told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

In his response to the AP’s “fact-check,” Rep. Massie also drew attention to a set of CDC emails that were obtained last year by Techno Fog, a non-establishment journalist who keeps his real identity hidden.

Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the emails showed the CDC fretting over “[r]ight-wing covid-19 pandemic deniers … using” the agency’s pre-September definition to question the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine.

“The definition of vaccine we have posted is problematic and people are using it to claim the COVID-19 vaccine is not a vaccine based on our own definition,” one email written on Aug. 25th, 2021 reads.

The CDC’s definition change came less than a week later.

Techno Fog, a fierce critic of corporate power, called it “affirmative action for the multinational corporations.”

“Why have them improve their vaccines when you can just change the definition of vaccine to fit their ineffective vaccines?” he wrote in his November post.

Vivek Saxena


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