(CNN) – The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who calls this an “exciting and powerful moment,” announced Thursday that those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks or do physical distance training indoors or outdoors.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can stop doing it because of the infection,” Dr. Rochelle Valensky said during a White House Govt-19 response group conference. “We all yearn for this moment when we can all return to normal.”
Valensky said science supports the new recommendation that “anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in large or small indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing themselves.”
He conducted three studies showing that vaccines work, one from Israel and one from the United States.
An Israeli study published in the medical journal JAMA showed that the vaccine was 97% effective against COVID-19 and 86% effective against asymptomatic infections in more than 5,000 health care workers.
There have been reports of thousands of “breakthrough” infections among vaccinated people in the United States, with a small number of more than 117 million people in the country now fully vaccinated. Valensky noted that “the resulting infection may be more likely to have a lower viral load, shorter in duration, and less likely to spread to others.”
Valensky’s announcement contains some warnings. He warned that those with immunity should talk to their doctors before giving up masks.
“Last year showed us that this virus is unpredictable, so if things get worse, there is always a chance to make changes in the recommendations,” he said.
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