All those vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, according to updated guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Thursday.
The stunning announcement, which signals the country’s first major step toward returning to normalcy since the start of the pandemic, was made by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’S Director.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” Walensky stated on Thursday.
The move followed the results of three studies, two American and one Israeli, that show the vaccine’s outstanding effectiveness in preventing spread of and serious illness from the coronavirus.
The Israeli trial demonstrated that healthcare workers who had been vaccinated against Covid-19 received 97% protection from symptomatic cases of the virus, and 86% protection from asymptomatic infection.
These results show that vaccinated people, even without a mask, are at extremely low risk for contracting or suffering from serious cases of the virus.
Vaccinated people who are immune compromised, have symptoms should wear mask
However, this new guideline does not apply to everyone who has been inoculated against the coronavirus.
Those who have been vaccinated and have compromised or weak immune systems should continue wearing masks until they consult with their doctor, Walensky noted.
Additionally, If a vaccinated person develops symptoms of the virus, they should put their masks back on and self-isolate until they receive their test results.
FDA: Pfizer Vaccine safe for children aged 12-15
The CDC’s decision comes on the heels of the FDA’s announcement on Monday that children aged 12 to 15 can safely receive Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.
The expansion of vaccine availability to children in the US could bring the country “closer to returning to a sense of normalcy,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, stated Monday.
Hoping to quell the fears of parents regarding the safety of inoculating their children, Dr. Woodcock stressed that the shot was put through a meticulous review by the FDA:
“Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations,” she assured the public.
The much-anticipated decision came after the pharmaceutical company applied for an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12 to 15 from the FDA in late March, citing data showing the shot’s safety and efficacy among children.
Pfizer conducted extensive clinical trials with participants in the age group, and found that its two-shot Covid-19 vaccine was incredibly effective in protecting them against the virus.
In its official announcement of the results, Pfizer stated that its vaccine against Covid-19 showed “100% efficacy” in preventing transmission of the virus, and produced a “robust antibody response” among those aged 12 to 15.
The study included 2,260 United States volunteers age 12 through 15, and it showed that there were zero cases of Covid-19 contracted among fully vaccinated children.