The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on 13 May 21 that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear masks or maintain physical distance — whether indoors or outdoors in most circumstances. This advisory is meant for the US citizens, and can be a referral guide for the countries that have fully vaccinated at least 45% of its population.
CDC considers the following people as fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
According to data compiled by the CDC, as of 13 May this year, more than 151 million Americans age 18 and older, or 58.7% of the U.S. adult population, have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine,. Roughly 116 million American adults, or 45.1% of the U.S. adult population, are fully vaccinated, according to the agency.
“This is an exciting and powerful moment, it could only happen because of the work of so many who made sure we have the rapid administration of three safe and effective vaccines,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
Walensky said unvaccinated people should still continue to wear masks, adding they remain at risk of mild or severe illness, death, and risk of spreading the disease to others. People with compromised immune systems should speak with their doctor before giving up their masks, she said.
Though this move has been widely welcomed, there have been a few notes of criticism too. Dr. Gunisha Kaur, physician and human rights researcher, and Dr. Natalia S. Ivascu, cardiac anesthesiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine feel, “It’s OK to want to keep your mask on a little longer.”
Dr Kaur and Dr Ivascu wrote in nbcnews.com: “We don’t know how long our post-vaccine antibodies will be adequate to stave off sickness. Similarly, we don’t know if current or future variants will penetrate our vaccine protection. And while the severity will likely be less when someone develops an infection post-vaccine, the long-term implications of even mild or moderate cases of Covid-19 are unknown: Some early studies have already found symptoms such as fatigue or dyspnea that persist several months after mild Covid infection, and other studies — such as emerging research on Covid-19 and Alzheimer’s disease risk — will certainly reveal more data. So even though a vaccinated person who gets infected is safer, if you can avoid getting it, you probably should.”
CDC has stressed that their recent advisory comes with a caveat: CDC could change its ‘no-mask-needed’ guidance again if the Covid pandemic worsens or additional variants emerge.