The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) altered the definition of “vaccine” because of concern that its definition did not apply to COVID-19 vaccines, according to newly released internal emails.
The agency updated its definition on Sept. 1.
The definition was formerly, “a product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.” It is now, “A preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases.”
One CDC employee in August, shortly before the definition was changed, said that the definition was being used by “right-wing COVID-19 pandemic deniers … to argue that mRNA vaccines are not vaccines,” according to the newly published emails.
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines utilize messenger RNA technology. All three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States have plummeted in effectiveness against infection in recent months after initially being promoted as protecting against infection and severe disease.
The definition “was twisted to claim that the existing COVID-19 vaccines were not vaccines because they only prevented severe illness,” the CDC employee said.