Folks skeptical of the various COVID vaccines out there have presented all sorts of reasons for their leeriness. Some of them reasonable, some of them ... not so much.
One reason so many Americans have been cautious about the jabs lately is that the new shots don't follow the traditional understanding of how vaccines work: by keeping you from getting whatever bug you've been inoculated against.
You know — the normal understanding of "vaccine."
But what "vaccine" means has been tweaked over the last several months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Infection infamously edited its definitions of "vaccination" and "vaccine."
As the Miami Herald — and many other media outlets — reported in an effort to explain away the CDC's vocabulary change, the term "vaccination" once said "the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease," but the agency replaced "immunity" with the word "protection."
Similarly, "vaccine" was changed from "a product that stimulates a person's immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease" to "a preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases."
Of course, those who get off on trashing anyone who dares say their skepticism of the shots might be based on the apparently fluid definitions of "vaccine" and "vaccination" will claim that the new definitions simply reflect the reality of what we've always said about inoculations.
But do they?
Left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow sure didn't think so earlier this year when she was celebrating the vaccines during the March 29 episode of her show.
"Instead of the virus being able to hop from person to person to person, potentially mutating and becoming more virulent and drug-resistant along the way, now we know that the vaccines work well enough that the virus stops with every vaccinated person," Maddow asserted, echoing the understanding most people had at the time of vaccines and how they work.
"A vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus, the virus does not infect them," she continued. "The virus cannot then use that person to go anywhere else. It cannot use a vaccinated person as a host to go get more people."
"That means the vaccines will get us to the end of this, if we just go fast enough to get the whole population," Maddow added.
Interestingly, Maddow's bit wasn't censored by social media or lambasted by the big brains in mainstream media for spreading a false definition of vaccines.
Just a few months after Maddow stated what was essentially everyone's understanding of what it meant to get vaccinated, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admitted that the vaccines don't stop people from transmitting COVID but said they do help prevent severe illness and death.
"Our vaccines are working exceptionally well," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Aug. 5. "They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death — they prevent it. But what they can't do any more is prevent transmission."