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Top Ex-Trump Official Warns: Delta Variant Really Is Different, The Unvaccinated Are ‘Going To Get It’

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, speak to reporters following a meeting of his coronavirus task force in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. Infected with COVID-19, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted intensive care at a hospital in London Monday as the U.S. death toll surpassed 10,000.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Admiral Brett Giroir, former assistant health secretary under President Trump, sounded the alarm during a Fox News interview on Thursday, saying that the Delta variant of COVID-19 really is different and that it is so extremely contagious that those who have not had COVID-19 already or who are unvaccinated are going to eventually become infected with the Delta variant.

“I do want to make one thing clear again, and it’s the most important public health message,” Giroir said. “In the middle of all this confusion and misinformation, one thing remains clear. If you are vaccinated, you are at least 95 percent protected against serious consequences, hospitalizations, and death.”

“And let me tell you, if you have not been vaccinated, and you have not had COVID before, you will get the Delta variant. This is so infectious that you will get it. If you have had COVID before, we don’t know exactly, but it’s looking like prior immunity is not so good against Delta,” Giroir continued. “And I’m really concerned that the evidence is mounting that even natural immunity will not protect you against Delta. So, get the vaccine. It’s the way to save your life to keep you out of the hospital. And that’s the number one reason we need to get it.”

“Anyone who’s — anyone who’s not vaccinated and who did not have COVID previously, the Delta variant is so contagious that you’re going to get it. It is just a matter of time,” Giroir continued. “If you have prior immunity — if you have prior immunity, you do have some protection, but more and more data are telling us that that protection is not so good against Delta. Remember, you can get the flu every year. It’s not because your immunity isn’t good. It’s because the flu changes. And Delta is really a new strain that is different than everything we have seen. So, I am real concerned that natural immunity, although real, is not going to be sufficient against Delta.”

“And if you don’t have natural immunity, and you’re not vaccinated, you’re going to get Delta,” he concluded. “So, prevent it by getting your vaccine.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right, Sandra, let’s bring in Admiral Brett Giroir. He’s a former assistant HHS secretary and testing czar under President Trump.

Admiral, good to see you today.

SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Admiral.

ROBERTS: Let’s get you, first of all, to weigh in on what the president is expected to announce this afternoon. That is either a vaccine or testing mandate for federal workers.

A good thing or a bad thing?

ADM. BRETT GIROIR, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH: I think it’s a reasonable thing for the federal government to mandate for its employees what most of the private sector, like Facebook and Netflix and Morgan Stanley, are doing for their employees.

And it is reasonable to give a choice. Vaccination is absolutely better, and it’s the best choice. But if you don’t get vaccinated, get tested every week. That will reduce the risk of spreading it.

And, look, I know that the vast numbers of federal employees are — quote — “working from home,” even senior public health officials. I personally am for anything that gets them back to work, so we can put this pandemic to the end.

SMITH: Admiral, people are so frustrated with this changing mask guidance, first told by President Biden himself, if you’re vaccinated, you no longer have to wear a mask. Now it seems to be that that is changing.

And there are — is great concern we have heard from doctors that that will be a disincentive for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet to not go get vaccinated, if they think they still have to wear a mask.

Where do your concerns lie this afternoon with all these changes?

GIROIR: Well, my major concern is, we had an incredibly important policy announcement by the CDC to recommend mask-wearing even for those who are vaccinated, but they have supplied zero data, no transparency, no information upon which we can have a debate.

SMITH: Why do you think that is? Why is that?

GIROIR: Because I don’t — I think they don’t really have the data or the data are weak.

Dr. Walensky said, in rare circumstances, a vaccinated person may transmit. Well, if it’s 1 percent, 0.1 percent, 0.01 percent, there’s no reason for the mask recommendations. But we don’t know because they won’t tell us.

We need to know the information, so we can have an intelligent, science-based debate. And I hope they do it as soon as possible, today. Should have been done two days ago.

ROBERTS: Admiral, the CDC is suggesting that at least some of that data will be released publicly tomorrow. There is a citation in the brief about the mask mandates that refers to a study in India.

In the CDC brief, it says: “Studies from India with vaccines not authorized for use in the United States have noted relatively high viral loads and larger cluster sizes associated with infections with Delta, regardless of vaccination status. These early data suggest that breakthrough Delta infections are transmissible. Unpublished data are consistent with this.”

Decode that for us. What does that mean?

GIROIR: It means that what happened with India with a vaccine that’s not even legal here and is not published, combined with some data that we don’t know about, it — there is no decoding.

I mean, this is not evidence. This is just speculation.

But I do want to make one thing clear again, and it’s the most important public health message. In the middle of all this confusion and misinformation, one thing remains clear. If you are vaccinated, you are at least 95 percent protected against serious consequences, hospitalizations, and death.

And no matter what is going on surfacing in misinformation, that is the reason we want everyone to get vaccinated. And that is true for Delta and every single variant.

SMITH: Admiral, for that reason, Dr. Marty Makary, who joined us on this program yesterday, said that the focus shouldn’t be on masks. It should be on vaccines, and it should be getting more Americans vaccinated.

He also brought up the full FDA approval, which has not yet happened. There’s a lot of red tape involved, as we know. It takes time for that to happen. But there is — there is — there are people who have not gotten the vaccination yet, and they will tell you, because there’s not a full FDA approval.

Do you question why that is not being expedited?

GIROIR: So, I think it’s just a matter of time. And I think it will be expedited. I am hopeful that the FDA would put full approval within the next couple of months or the next few weeks.

But, remember, for everyone that’s doubting, there have been over four billion vaccine doses given worldwide, hundreds of millions of doses in the United States with authorized vaccines. And the side effects of the vaccines pale in comparison to what you will get if you get COVID infection.

And let me tell you, if you have not been vaccinated, and you have not had COVID before, you will get the Delta variant. This is so infectious that you will get it. If you have had COVID before, we don’t know exactly, but it’s looking like prior immunity is not so good against Delta.

And I’m really concerned that the evidence is mounting that even natural immunity will not protect you against Delta. So, get the vaccine. It’s the way to save your life to keep you out of the hospital. And that’s the number one reason we need to get it.

ROBERTS: So, we have a couple of developments.

Washington, D.C., is going to return to mask mandates as of Saturday, and now news out of Israel that people over the age of 60 will be getting a booster shot of the vaccine. Pfizer came out with some data that suggested that, if you get a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine, that could confer potentially 100 times more resistance, in the interim — it’s at least four or five times for older people — resistance to the Delta variant.

Is that an enticement to get a third dose of this vaccine at some point? And what do you think of what’s happening in Israel?

GIROIR: So, the jury is still out right now.

We do know that the third dose will raise the levels in the blood. What we don’t know is if you actually need those raised levels. The current data do show that vaccine immunity does wane after a period of time, but you’re still protected against hospitalizations and death. So, the jury is out.

Personally, we know that the breakthrough infections that land you into the hospital are much more common in those over 65 and those who are immunosuppressed. So, I am supportive in those groups right now to get a third dose of the vaccine, because those are the ones who are really having the breakthrough deaths and hospitalizations.

SMITH: Admiral, I want to go back to what you just said a moment ago, because that’s — that’s a big statement.

You’re saying that anyone who is not vaccinated right now in this country, you believe that they will contract the Delta variant, considering how contagious it is? Can you add to that?

GIROIR: Anyone who’s — anyone who’s not vaccinated and who did not have COVID previously, the Delta variant is so contagious that you’re going to get it. It is just a matter of time.

ROBERTS: Wow.

GIROIR: If you have prior immunity — if you have prior immunity, you do have some protection, but more and more data are telling us that that protection is not so good against Delta.

Remember, you can get the flu every year. It’s not because your immunity isn’t good. It’s because the flu changes. And Delta is really a new strain that is different than everything we have seen. So, I am real concerned that natural immunity, although real, is not going to be sufficient against Delta.

And if you don’t have natural immunity, and you’re not vaccinated, you’re going to get Delta.

ROBERTS: Wow.

GIROIR: So, prevent it by getting your vaccine.

ROBERTS: Well, that is an eye-opener, to be sure.

Admiral Brett Giroir, good to talk to you today. Thanks for helping kick us off. Appreciate it.

SMITH: Thank you, Admiral.

GIROIR: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Wow.

Sandra, if ever there was an enticement to get the vaccine, I think the admiral just laid it out there.

SMITH: That seems like just a dire warning and goes back to his original statement: The vaccine works. Get it.

But you also wonder what the admiral and all these other doctors may suggest how you cut through the politics of this moment. So many have put suggestions out there, having President — former President Trump do a PSA with Biden, or the Biden administration acknowledge that this was originally the Trump vaccine.

There’s so many suggestions that are out there. How do you cut through the political noise to get us out of this pandemic, John?

ROBERTS: Well, I think the admiral just said it right there, that, if you’re not vaccinated, you are more than likely going to get the Delta strain.

SMITH: That’s a big…

ROBERTS: And, you know, you don’t have to call people stupid or call them drunk drivers or call them criminals. You just say, this is what’s going to happen if you don’t do this.

So, that, I think was a very valuable public service message.

SMITH: Absolutely.

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