The World Health Organization urges people to continue to wear a mask and ensure social distancing – even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID – amid the spread of a worrying new variant and high transmission rates in many places in the community. While most COVID vaccines are believed to protect largely against all known variants, none are 100 percent effective.
WHO also advises vaccinated people to continue to take precautions, such as staying in well-ventilated areas and avoiding crowds. “This is still extremely important even if you are vaccinated and a community transmission is underway,” said Mariângela Simão, WHO Deputy Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products, at a recent press conference.
“What we are saying is, if you are fully vaccinated, keep playing it safe as you could end up being part of a chain of transmission,” added Bruce Aylward, senior advisor on organizational change to the WHO Director-General.
As of this writing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t changed their latest stance: They say people don’t need to wear a mask in most indoor or outdoor areas (except in places that require one, like hospitals , Nursing). Homes, prisons and public transport). When asked about the advice of the WHO for vaccinated persons by the New York Times, A CDC spokesperson referred to its existing guidelines and gave no indication that these recommendations would be changed. At the time of publication, the agency had not yet responded to a request for further comments.
The CDC’s guideline that vaccinated people should not wear a mask or social distance in most situations was issued in mid-May, before the highly communicable Delta variant was 40 to 60 percent more contagious than the previously dominant Alpha variant in the US it is and poses a danger to the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated. “Breakthrough infections” can occur in fully vaccinated people, although they are rare and usually less severe.
The CDC’s policy for the unvaccinated continues to be that they should wear a mask in public indoor spaces and follow other public health precautions such as walking away.