Newly obtained emails confirm that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its definition for both “vaccine” and “vaccinated” because people were pointing out that the definitions didn’t seem to apply to the COVID-19 vaccines.
“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,” Alycia Downs, a CDC official, wrote in an email to a colleague on Aug. 25, 2021.
The definition is located on the CDC webpage on immunization basics.
“Vaccine” had been defined since at least 2011 by the CDC as a product that triggers immunity, while “vaccination” was described as an injection that prevents a disease, according to archived versions of the page. However, a flood of inquiries on the definitions was triggered by the fact that the COVID-19 vaccines have been increasingly ineffective against infection by the virus that causes COVID-19, the emails show.
“Our question is how is the CDC and the rest of the world allowed to call the shot a vaccination when it doesn’t even meet your own definition,” one person wrote to the CDC.
“Right-wing covid-19 pandemic deniers are using your ‘vaccine’ definition to argue that mRNA vaccines are not vaccines,” another said.
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are both built on messenger RNA technology. They’re two of the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States.
Downs and colleagues Allison Michelle Fisher, Cynthia Jorgensen, Valerie Morelli, and Andrew (no last name given) worked on changing the definitions for “vaccine” and “vaccination,” according to the emails.
The changes were pushed through on Aug. 31, 2021, and Sept. 1, 2021, respectively.
“Vaccine” is now defined as “a preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases.
“Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but some can be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose,” the definition reads.
The previous definition was “a product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease. Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but can also be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose.”
“Vaccination” was changed to “the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease” from “the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.”