New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon: Murphy Must Follow CDC Guidelines, End Mask & Distancing Guidelines . . . or Admit He Doesn’t Believe Vaccines Work

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Health Commissioner Must Immediately Retract Her Dramatically Incorrect, Confidence-Destroying Vaccine Efficacy Misstatement

Senator Declan O’Scanlon called on Governor Murphy to immediately do what he has consistently promised to do: follow CDC guidelines and science and end mask requirements, social distancing and other outdated mandates and restrictions.

O’Scanlon also called on the Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli to retract her false claim that vaccinated people still have a 5 percent likelihood of contracting COVID.

“The CDC has, as a pleasant surprise, acknowledged the now-overwhelming data we have that vaccinated or naturally immune people aren’t getting COVID themselves, or giving it to others. The CDC and the Biden Administration have joined those of us wisely and reasonably calling for an end to mask-wearing and social distancing mandates,” O’Scanlon said. “That the Governor has chosen to ignore this guidance sends the message that he doesn’t believe vaccines work.

“The Governor himself has said ‘we will certainly, as we always do, take the CDC guidance seriously.’ To only choose to follow CDC guidance when it fits the Administration’s inclination towards prolonged restrictions, and reject it when it calls for an end to restrictions destroys the administration’s credibility.

“It also appears as if we have uncovered the driving force behind the administration’s consistent perpetuation of overly restrictive rules and mandates even in the face of a successful vaccine program.

“It became clear during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on May 11 that the Commissioner of Health doesn’t understand vaccine efficacy statistics. That’s terrifying, and so is the fact that the administration continues to formulate destructive policies based on this dangerous misunderstanding. The falsehood must be corrected immediately,” O’Scanlon continued. “The scariest thing about this is that it is indeed possible that the administration truly doesn’t understand these numbers. To date, they have acted as if they believe that vaccination still leaves 5 percent of population vulnerable. Their hinting that restrictions might never end as long as any level of COVID is present could be explained by such a total misunderstanding of vaccine efficacy statistics. Again, that’s frightening.

“A 95 percent efficacy of a vaccine doesn’t mean, as the Commissioner clearly stated, 5 percent of people are left vulnerable. It means 5 percent of those you could expect to contract the disease in a given population, over a given period of time, with a given level of virus prevalence. In simple numbers, if you have 100,000 people and would expect 1,000 people to be infected over a given period of time without any vaccine, then vaccinated them with a 95 percent efficacious vaccine, you’d statistically expect only 50 people to still become infected.

“Using the health commissioner’s striking misunderstanding, she would expect 5,000 people to become infected. This is a tremendously significant, almost stunning, misunderstanding,” O’Scanlon said. “If it is informing our policies, we need to stop right now. Current case and vaccine numbers, properly understood, dictate that we should end all rules, executive orders and restrictions.

“Mask and distancing mandates should end today, and the Governor and Commissioner should together directly retract the Commissioner’s erroneous statement.”

O’Scanlon added that confusion created by the Governor’s inaction creates problems for small business.

“By breaking away from the CDC, the Governor put business and restaurant owners in the untenable position of having to enforce rules that everyone now knows are counter to science, and counter to federal government guidelines,” O’Scanlon said.

“‘It is going to be an absolute shit show,’ a restaurant owner in my district said. It is deplorable the Governor would put business owners in this bind.”

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