Trust Index: Fact-checking Biden’s comments on COVID-19 shots

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) (Charles Krupa, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

News4Jax put two comments about COVID-19 shots that President Joe Biden made at a town hall Wednesday night to the Trust Index.

When will young children be able to get COVID-19 shots?

Biden said Wednesday that children under age 12 could be vaccinated by the beginning of the school year. But last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced it wasn’t going to be until mid-winter when parents could expect the option to get their children the shot.

So News4Jax put this to the Trust Index.

Let’s start with Biden’s claim about children being able to get the shot by the beginning of the school year. Here’s what he said:

“The expectation, they’re not promising me any specific date, but my expectation talking to the group of scientists, we put together over 20 of them plus others in the field is that sometime maybe in the beginning of school year, at the end of August, September, October, you’ll get a final approval saying the FDA said this is it. It’s good.”

Trials for Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines for children younger than 12 began in March. The FDA said it wants four to six months of follow-up safety data. By comparison, two months of follow-up was required for the adult clinical trials.

Both companies said they expect to have data available in the fall, but having data is just one step toward getting emergency use authorization.

Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno joins us to discuss the confusion of when children under 12 could be vaccinated.

News4Jax asked Chad Neilsen, UF Health Jacksonville director of accreditation and infection prevention, if it was possible to have a shot by the beginning of the school year.

“I think what he was trying to say there is that data is expected to be turned into the FDA for kids 12 and under. Right now the timeframe from both Pfizer and Moderna is that there turning that data into the FDA hopefully by September. Once the FDA gets that data, they have to turn that over and clinic researchers have to look at it, and we hope to get EUA by mid-winter, so hopefully by January,” Neilsen said.

On the Trust Index, we are going to mark this as be careful.

Be Careful

After reviewing this topic, we've found some issues - Be Careful.

What is the Trust Index?

One, we don’t know if the president has more information about these vaccines than what’s currently been said to the public. But, also, just looking at the timeline of what it will take to get EUA, it is very unlikely at this point a child will be able to get a vaccine earlier than winter.

Claim: ‘You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations’

One of the statements the president made was about vaccinated people and their protection against COVID-19 and the delta variant. Here’s what he said specifically:

“One last thing that’s really important is we’re not in a position where we think that any virus, including the delta virus, which is much more transmissible and more deadly in terms of non, unvaccinated people, the various shots that people are getting now cover that. You’re OK. You’re not going to, you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”

Studies show that Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are about 88% effective at protecting against specifically the delta variant, but that’s not 100%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 vaccines are effective, however, a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus that causes it. These are called “vaccine breakthrough cases.”

Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno joins us to discuss President Biden's claim that vaccinated people will not get COVID-19.

Neilsen gave his take on the president’s statement.

“I think it probably needs to read a little finer than that. It is still possible to get COVID-19 if you are fully vaccinated, however, your chances of getting severe infection, severe cases, hospitalizations or mortality is drastically reduced if you get the vaccine,” Neilsen said.

On the Trust Index, we are going to mark Biden’s claim that vaccinated people cannot get COVID-19 as not true.

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

What is the Trust Index?

While it is highly unlikely that you will get COVID-19 if you are vaccinated, there are still those few breakthrough cases. But it is important to note you are far less likely to be hospitalized if you get COVID-19 and have been vaccinated. Jacksonville hospital leaders said the overwhelming majority of people hospitalized right now we’re not vaccinated.