White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday asked why reporters needed to know how many vaccinated White House staffers had contracted COVID-19.
''Why do you need to have that information?'' she asked a reporter who pressed her for the answer.
''Transparency, interests of the public, to have a better understanding of how breakthrough cases work here in the White House,'' the reporter replied.
Psaki then informed the reporter that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was responsible for ''a great deal of tracking'' before moving on.
The report comes a day after President Joe Biden made misleading statements in a CNN town hall. He claimed that vaccinated people would not have to be hospitalized or placed in an intensive care unit, and they would not die.
In another exchange, Biden said that even if vaccinated people do "catch the virus," they are "not likely to get sick."
In a third exchange, he said vaccines ''cover'' the highly contagious Delta variant.
''You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,'' he said.
A fully vaccinated White House employee was infected with COVID-19, though Psaki acknowledged the case only after the story leaked.
''We know that there will be breakthrough cases. But as this instance shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild,'' she said Tuesday.
''We committed that we would release information proactively if it is commissioned officers. We continue to abide by that commitment,'' she added.
A reporter Friday took her to task regarding those statements.
''This administration has long claimed that you’re trying to be the most transparent in history,'' the reporter asked at the daily White House briefing. ''If that’s the case, why won’t you just release the number of breakthrough cases you’ve had among vaccinated staffers?''
Psaki said the country was ''in a very different place as it relates to the virus'' and said those who had received the vaccine were ''protected from serious illness.''
After about 30 seconds, the reporter replied, ''But why not just provide the number? Are you trying to hide something?''
Psaki responded, ''No, but why do you need to have that information?''
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