COVID-19 vaccines work to "to keep people out of the hospital and out of the cemetery," but the growing number of breakthrough cases are showing that they "may not be as effective as we thought," and that has come as "shocking news," former Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Newsmax Friday.
"We need to see more information from the CDC, but it is important for people to know that there is data out there that suggests that people who are vaccinated can transmit the virus," Adams told Newsmax's "National Report." "Vaccines still are very effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization. But they may not be as effective as we thought."
The changing science with the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus shows that it has "1,000 times the viral particles of the original COVID strain," said Adams.
"(People) need to understand we have the tools to actually live with this virus, and that's what we're going to have to do," said Adams. "The virus isn't going to go away. We've got vaccines. We have treatments. We have testing and we have mitigation in the form of masking and social distancing, and we've got to use a combination of those things in order to be able to live with the virus. The number one thing you can do to stay safe and keep us open is to get vaccinated."
However, Adams called for people to stop "demonizing" those who have chosen not to get a vaccine.
"In many cases, people just have really legitimate, really good questions about their own personal health, and I've talked to Democrats, Republicans, Black people, white people," said Adams. "We've had questions that I've been able to help them get the answers and to make that decision to get vaccinated ... we need to continue to engage people respectfully,"
However, he stressed that consequences come from choices, and by making the choice not to be vaccinated, that means "our kids are going to have to go back to school with masks, and the consequences may be that you can't get that elective surgery a few weeks from now because the hospitals that I'm seeing and the ones that I'm working in are getting more and more COVID cases."
Still, he said that the choice for a vaccine should be made from an informed conversation with a trusted health provider.
Adams added that he doesn't want to "pick on" the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its changing of mask guidelines for vaccinated people, but he does think the agency's communication has been "less than ideal," and a clarification is needed.
"It didn't get more people vaccinated," said Adams. "Cases were rising and they blindsided health officials and took away a major tool that they had and confused the public. We really need to see more transparency from the CDC. We need to see the data that they're referring to."
Adams added that he's been speaking with his sources who have confirmed that the CDC is worried about the Delta variant surge, not only because unvaccinated people weren't wearing masks but because people who were vaccinated are able to spread the virus.
Vaccines prevent hospitalization and death from COVID, but they still don't prevent the spread of the disease because of the mutation, but still, getting more people can still help stem the renewed growth of the virus, said Adams.
"Talk to your health provider, get the facts," he said. "That's how we can live with this pandemic."
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