Do COVID Vaccines Produce Immunity As Defined by the CDC? CDC Says, 'We're Still Learning'

By Susan Jones | May 4, 2021 | 10:00am EDT
A man gets his COVID vaccination in Pasadena, Texas. (Photo by CECILE CLOCHERET/AFP via Getty Images)
A man gets his COVID vaccination in Pasadena, Texas. (Photo by CECILE CLOCHERET/AFP via Getty Images)

( - In an April 27 "update," the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says even if you have been fully vaccinated, "you should still protect yourself and others in many situations."

That includes wearing a mask in indoor public settings; and in indoor gatherings with unvaccinated people who are high risk or who are from multiple households.

"You should still avoid indoor large gatherings," the advisory tells fully vaccinated people. And "you should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you've been around someone who is sick."

But the same CDC website defines vaccination as "the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease." And it defines "immunity" as "protection from an infectious disease. If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected," CDC says.

So this begs the question, do the coronavirus vaccines produce immunity as defined by the CDC -- or not?

The CDC admits that it is "still learning" about this.

In a paragraph titled, "What We're Still Learning," CDC says it is still exploring the following topics (verbatim):

-- How effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.

-- How well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications.

-- How well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease. Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.

-- How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

CDC says as its scientists learn more, "CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Until we know more about those questions, everyone -- even people who've had their vaccines -- should continue taking steps to protect themselves and others when recommended."

CDC has a shorter blurb titled "What We Know" about coronavirus vaccinations:

-- They are "effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death."

-- "Other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed."

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