Fact Check-CDC director did not confess that vaccines are failing

Rochelle Walensky has not confessed that vaccines are failing. False claims attributed to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stem from an article published on a known misinformation website.

Examples of social media posts sharing a screenshot of a “medical article” from are visible here and here .

Social media users use words from an article (seen archived ) written by Mike Adams and published on ( The website is classified as conspiracy and pseudoscience by Media Bias, saying it is known for publishing unverified content (here).

Reuters addressed earlier misinformation published by Mike Adams, visible in fact-checks here and here .

“Via the words of the CDC’s own director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the official narrative on vaccines and covid has just self-destructed,” the article starts.

But Reuters found no record of admission by the CDC or any reporting from reputable news sources that the CDC or Walensky called COVID-19 vaccination efforts a failure.

What the article presents as proof of this statement is health officials’ new concerns over COVID-19.

As reported by the Washington Post here on July 29, a CDC document found “vaccinated individuals infected with delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated,” and that, “Vaccinated people infected with delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant.”

On July 29, 2021, the CDC released a press release, visible here from Walensky. The communication shares updated guidance for fully vaccinated people (here) recommending vaccinated individuals wear face masks regardless of vaccine status, citing the rise of Delta variant cases around the United States. A CDC site showing current COVID-19 transmission levels in the United States is visible here .

Recent Reuters reporting on the Delta variant’s impact in the United States can be seen here and here .

Additionally, the CDC released data seen in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) seen here revealing that Delta infection results in high SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The CDC explained that “high viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concerns that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus.”

According to the CDC’s press release, findings from the community outcome of large gatherings in Barnstable County, Massachusetts were “pivotal” in the CDC’s decision to update mask guidance. The MMWR report showed that 469 COVID-19 cases were identified among Massachusetts residents who traveled to the town between July 3–17, 2021, 346 of whom were fully vaccinated. Ninety percent of 133 tested patients were confirmed to have the Delta variant.

This change, however, does not mean that the CDC’s narrative “self-destructed” or that Walensky admitted vaccines failed, as posts online say. Rather, it reflects the ever-changing nature of a pandemic where new variants pose new challenges to public health authorities.

Kristen Nordlund, a CDC spokesperson, told Reuters in an emailed response for comment that “none of the data released on Friday changes what we know about vaccines.” The spokesperson said that COVID-19 vaccines work to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

To say vaccines do not work at all is false. They have been shown to work against Delta (here) and Alpha (here). Manufacturers are working on modifying their vaccines to better cover for future variants (here).


False. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky did not publish a confession that COVID-19 vaccines have failed. The CDC asserts that COVID-19 vaccines work to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .