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Vaccinated people can be unwilling vectors for Covid-19, says CDC

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, says that fully immunized individuals are unwillingly spreading the disease, and they should wear masks despite their vaccination status.

According to CDC, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. (Image by CDC on Unsplash).

The debate about whether fully immunized individuals should continue wearing masks has been going on for a while, but it was settled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Director at CDC, said in a statement that vaccinated people can transmit the virus, though on a smaller scale than the unvaccinated population.

“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus. This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation”, said Walensky.

This statement comes when the Delta virus has taken the federal and state government by surprise due to the recent outbreaks. In Barnstable County, Massachusetts, the latest flare-up has got people talking after the CDC said that 75% of the new cases were fully immunized people.

“In July 2021, following multiple large public events in a Barnstable County, Massachusets, town,469 Covid-19 cases were identified among them Massachusetts residents who had traveled to the town July 3-17:346(74%) occurred in fully vaccinated persons”, stated a survival magazine report.

Most vaccinated people have gotten the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both of which are mRNA vaccines. Despite the new Delta Variant breaking through the enhanced immunity accorded by these vaccines, experts and local administration believe the vaccines have shown efficacy so far. Even if the immunized are getting infected, they are only developing mild symptoms.

“Seven hospitalizations have been reported to date associated with this – 5 in Massachusetts and 2 out of state. No deaths have been reported.73% of the cases are among vaccinated individuals, 89% are men with a median age of 39,” said Alex Morse, Provincetown town manager, in a Facebook post.

These unfolding events in Massachusetts and other states have prompted the CDC to revise their mask guidelines, now contradicting their May statement that said vaccinated individuals could go without masks. In May this year, the disease control body had published reports saying fully immunized people could go without masks.

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing things that you had stopped because of the pandemic. We have longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Dr. Walensky had said in a White House pandemic briefing.

Well, it seems we are not yet out of the woods, even if over 50 % of the US population is vaccinated. You need to continue wearing your masks indoors and in social gatherings. The CDC has since given a new guideline on wearing masks among the vaccinated population, urging them to wear them to reduce the “unwilling transmission.”

Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission”, said the updated CDC report.

The vaccines have little to no effect on immune-compromised people, such as people recovering from major surgeries, people living with HIV/AIDs, and the elderly population. The CDC has advised fully immunized individuals with immune-compromised loved ones to wear the mask outdoors because they can bring with them the virus and pass it to them.

“Fully vaccinated people might choose to mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immune-compromised or at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated,” added the report.

President Joe Biden has also given new guidelines on vaccination amid the Delta variant resurgence. The head of state was speaking at the White House on Thursday, July 29, 2021, where he asked state governments to award $100 to anyone who took the vaccine voluntarily.

President Joe Biden has directed state governments to give $100 to anyone willing to take the shot voluntarily. (Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels)

“We all want our lives to get back to normal, and fully vaccinated workplaces will make that happen more quickly and more successfully. We all know that in our gut. With incentives and mandates, we can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives,” said Biden.

On July 27, 2021, CDC published a report assuring fully vaccinated people that they were safe from the Delta variant and there is no need to worry.

“mRNA vaccines provide protection against variants of concern, including the Delta strain that is now predominant in the United States. Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization and death is high for all current SARS-CoV-2 variants,” stated the report.

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