Walensky spoke to MSNBC‘s Ari Melber and was shown a clip of Hannity discussing COVID-19 vaccines and telling his audience that “the science shows the vaccine will not necessarily protect you. It’s not protecting many people.”
The CDC director pointed to the fact that most current hospitalizations with COVID are unvaccinated people and that there are more than 85 million people in the U.S. eligible to be vaccinated but who have not been.
Before showing the clip of Hannity, Melber said: “I just want to be clear with viewers. I’m not playing it because it’s reliable, but rather to give you the chance – on the record, CDC – to address it.”
After the clip, he asked Walensky: “Your response?”
“My job is to give accurate information to the American people,” Walensky said.
“Here is the accurate information. The vast majority of people in this country who are getting infected with COVID, who are showing up in the hospital with COVID, and now who are dying with COVID are people who have not received this vaccine,” she said.
“Over 85 million people in this country are eligible for a vaccine and are not receiving it – and have not yet received it,” Walensky added.
Walensky said that when people had information about the vaccines they would choose to take them.
Melber said: “So if somebody says that or repeats that, because this is how things go around, if they say, ‘Well I heard the vaccine does not quote-unquote protect you,’ the CDC’s view of that belief or claim is that it’s false?'”
“I believe that to be false,” Walensky said. “In fact, I would say even if you happen to be one of the breakthrough cases, your case will be far milder than if you didn’t have a vaccine.”
“The CDC has said in no uncertain terms even fully vaccinated people — the vaccine will not prevent you from getting COVID,” Hannity said at the time.
A Fox News spokesperson reportedly told Mediaite that Hannity’s Wednesday comments were referring to Walenksy’s own remarks in August about vaccines not preventing transmission of the virus.
“Our vaccines are working exceptionally well,” Walenksy told CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer on August 5. “They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death – they prevent it. But what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”
Her comments came amid the spread of COVID’s Delta variant and after updated CDC advice saying that even fully vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor settings.
Newsweek has asked Fox News for comment.