Fox News host Tucker Carlson speaks at an event in Washington, DC on March 29, 2019 (Getty / AFP / Chip Somodevilla)

Covid-19 precautions do not mean vaccines are ineffective

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Fox News host Tucker Carlson asks in a video viewed more than 450,000 times on Facebook why people immunized against Covid-19 need to observe measures such as mask use if vaccines are effective. But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes clear that precautions remain necessary because it is not yet known how well the shots protect against variants or prevent people from spreading Covid-19.

“Why do people who take it, and by the way, why do people who’ve been previously infected and show high levels of antibodies, have to live under the restrictions that the vaccines were supposed to eliminate?” Carlson says in the video, which was posted on Facebook on April 14, 2021.

“The people in charge are acting like it doesn’t work,” he later says, adding: “If this stuff works, why can’t you live like it works?”

A screenshot of a Facebook post taken on April 15, 2021

The video also appears on Facebook here, and has been shared on Twitter here and here.

Covid-19 has killed more than 565,000 people in the United States. The federal government as well as state and local jurisdictions have enacted mask mandates and other restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the disease, which have sparked an intense backlash among those who view them as an inconvenience or an impingement on personal freedom.

More than 198 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States, but just 23 percent of the population has received the two shots needed to provide full protection.

Immunization efforts have suffered a setback, however, with use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine being paused due to an extremely rare blood clot issue.

The CDC says on its website that Covid-19 shots are effective at preventing illness, and explains why precautions are still necessary for those who have been fully vaccinated.

“We’re still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes Covid-19,” as well as how well they keep people from spreading the disease and how long they can protect people, it says.

“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,” the CDC adds.

Recommendations are already different for people who have been fully vaccinated. For example, the CDC says they can forgo masks when privately visiting members of one household who have not been immunized and are not at risk of severe illness.

A screenshot taken on April 15, 2021 shows a chart on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

“As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people,” it says.

AFP Fact Check has debunked hundreds of inaccurate claims related to Covid-19 here.

EDIT: This article was updated on April 20, 2021 to fix a broken link.