CLEVELAND.com – Did a recent federal study give us the green light to ditch the mask?
Not so fast, some health experts say. As long as vaccinated and unvaccinated people are mingling together, everyone needs a mask.
Angela Rasmussen, virologist and affiliate at the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security, said:
“Until we get the majority of the adult population vaccinated, people should continue to take precautions, especially in public spaces where you don’t know what other people’s vaccine status might be.”
The study, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that people who get a Moderna or Pfizer shot are nearly 100% protected against the coronavirus, and don’t shed the virus if infected.
That would seem to indicate that vaccinated people can stop wearing masks.
However, the study is preliminary data, and the results aren’t strong enough to conclude that vaccinated people can safely go without masks, explained Dr. John O’Horo, consultant and associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, division of infectious disease.
However, Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, was more optimistic. “I find the CDC study pretty compelling,” Wurtz said.
It is backed up by a previous study involving monkeys that suggested the animals did not shed coronavirus after vaccination, Wurtz said.
She expects data from upcoming studies by Moderna and Pfizer to confirm the CDC’s findings. The new data from the pharmaceutical companies should be available in about two months.
Wurtz agrees that masks should stay on to reinforce mask wearing as a social norm during this time when some people are vaccinated and others aren’t.
The agency studied nearly 4,000 health care and other essential workers — people likely to be exposed to the illness — who received the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccines … click here to read more (subscription required).