White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki that President Joe Biden’s previous remarks about vaccinated individuals not needing to wear masks was related to “a very different strain of the virus” than the Delta variant.

Psaki made the remarks in response to Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asking why Biden previously said, “If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. Let me repeat: If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.”

“Well, Peter, I think we’re all dealing with an evolving virus where there’s no playbook and no historic precedent. And what the American people should feel confident in is that we are going to continue to be guided by science, look at public health data in order to provide new guidance, if it’s needed, to save lives, to protect the American people,” Psaki responded. “When he made those comments back in May, we were dealing with a very different strain of the virus than we were — than we are today.  And Delta is more transmissible.  It’s spreading much more quickly.  It was nearly non-existent in the United States back in May.”

Doocy later pushed Psaki about the issue again, asking “if the vaccines work, which this sign says that they do, then why do people who had the vaccine need to now wear masks — the same as people who have not had it?”

“Because the public health leaders in our administration have made the determination, based on data, that that is a way to make sure they’re protected, their loved ones are protected,” Psaki responded. “And that’s an extra step, given the transmissibility of the virus, that people — that they’re advising people to take.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

DOOCY: And then, on the CDC guidance, why did the President say, “If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. Let me repeat: If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask” if it was possible that that was going to turn out not to be true?

PSAKI: Well, Peter, I think we’re all dealing with an evolving virus where there’s no playbook and no historic precedent. And what the American people should feel confident in is that we are going to continue to be guided by science, look at public health data in order to provide new guidance, if it’s needed, to save lives, to protect the American people.

When he made those comments back in May, we were dealing with a very different strain of the virus than we were — than we are today.  And Delta is more transmissible.  It’s spreading much more quickly.  It was nearly non-existent in the United States back in May.

DOOCY: And so my last one would be: You guys have been saying this is a pandemic of the “unvaccinated.”  If that is coming from the CDC, is the President satisfied with the leadership at the CDC right now?

PSAKI: The President is satisfied with the fact that they are continuing to look at public health data and give — provide public health guidance to the American public about how they can protect their lives and the lives of loved ones around them.

DOOCY: And if it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated still, then why do vaccinated people need to put the masks back on?

PSAKI: Well, Peter, first of all, I would say again — just to go back to this chart, which I will handily point to again: If you are vaccinated —

DOOCY: Overwhelmingly, the unvaccinated.

PSAKI: — if you are vaccinated, your li- — it can save your life. And I think the clear data shows that this pandemic is killing, is hospitalizing, is making people very sick who are not vaccinated. That co- — still continues to be the case, regardless of what the mask guidance looks like.

DOOCY: But if the vaccines work, which this sign says that they do, then why do people who had the vaccine need to now wear masks — the same as people who have not had it?

PSAKI:  Because the public health leaders in our administration have made the determination, based on data, that that is a way to make sure they’re protected, their loved ones are protected.  And that’s an extra step, given the transmissibility of the virus, that people — that they’re advising people to take.

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