Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has experienced a rebound infection of COVID-19 less than two weeks after testing positive and taking a course of Paxlovid.
Walensky’s first positive test came on October 21. The CDC issued a statement on Monday that said Walensky had tested negative after completing a full course of Paxlovid and remaining in isolation for the required time. She reportedly experienced only mild symptoms from that earlier infection.
She began to experience symptoms again on Sunday and has since tested positive once again. The CDC said she is recovering at home in isolation and is participating in meetings virtually.
The CDC said in October when Walensky tested positive the first time that the director was “up to date with her vaccines.” She reportedly received a booster shot in September.
She tweeted at that time that “laboratory data suggest these updated vaccines provide increased protection against currently circulating variants.” She encouraged all Americans to join her in getting an “updated vaccine now.”
Walensky is the third top administration official to experience a rebound COVID infection shortly after completing a course of Paxlovid due to an initial infection.
Shortly after the CDC announced Walensky’s first positive test, Joe Biden also took an updated COVID vaccine and urged everyone to do the same. He said: “It’s incredibly effective. But the truth is, not enough people are getting it.”
Biden also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year. At the time of his infection, he was fully vaccinated and double-boosted. He took a course of Paxlovid before having a rebound infection.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci also had a rebound case of COVID-19 this year. Likewise, he was fully vaccinated and had taken two booster shots before his first infection and then took Paxlovid. His rebound case also occurred after testing negative after completing the Paxlovid course.
Fauci is stepping down from his position at the NIAID at the end of the year.
The CDC does not currently know why rebound cases are occurring after an initial course of Paxlovid in fully vaccinated individuals.