One thing that is normal, as journalist Matt Yglesias noted on Twitter, is for the government to issue overly cautious health advice and for the public to ignore that advice. The CDC tells Americans to cook our hamburgers to well done and our eggs until the yolks are solidified. It tells us to use dental dams for oral sex. You don’t need the CDC’s permission to hug your vaccinated grandparent any more than you need it to eat eggs over easy.
So one silver lining about bad advice that undersells the vaccine’s benefits is that a lot of the public will surely ignore it.
But I do worry about the underselling could be affecting people’s willingness to get vaccinated. If our messaging on the vaccine is heavily focused on what it allegedly won’t do for you, and contends that people will have to keep doing all the annoying things they’re doing right now, why wouldn’t that lead a lot of people to be hesitant to get the vaccine?