CDC Announces No Masks for the Fully Vaccinated
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put out a new guideline stating that people fully vaccinated for COVID-19 don’t need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.
- Cancer patients and survivors with compromised immune systems, should likely continue to wear masks and practice social distancing says the former Chief Medical Officer of The American Cancer Society
- Solid tumor patients are more likely better protected by the vaccine compared to patients with hematologic malignancy, according to recent research.
- Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, may blunt the immune system, making you more susceptible to contracting COVID-19; getting the vaccine as a cancer patient is important.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, but the guidelines may not necessarily apply to people with compromised immune systems. On Friday, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that mask-wearing will “be hard to let go” of for some people.Read More
"We really need to make sure that we get people vaccinated."
Watch our full interview with @CDCDirector Rochelle Walensky on new guidance that that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks or socially distance in most places. pic.twitter.com/uiGWmiU1GC
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 14, 2021
“I have mixed emotions about this. While it signals things are improving, I worry about variants of COVID that the vaccine does not protect against,” Dr. Otis Brawley of Johns Hopkins Medicine tells SurvivorNet. Dr. Brawley is a noted oncologist and public health expert whose last position was Chief Medical Officer of The American Cancer Society.
“I also worry about non-cancer patients vaccinated, but the vaccine did not stimulate their immune system and I worry about cancer patients who have an impaired immune system such that the vaccine is less effective,” says Dr. Brawley. “People tend to forget that the mask protects people around the wearer from the wearer more than it protects the wearer from exposure.”
The CDC news came via the following message on Twitter: “UPDATE: If you are fully vaccinated against #COVID19, you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, incl. local business and workplace guidance.”
UPDATE: If you are fully vaccinated against #COVID19, you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, incl. local business and workplace guidance. More: https://t.co/FJMon7WlFO
— CDC (@CDCgov) May 13, 2021
Expectedly, there were many vocal opponents to the announcement. @DanielNewman writes,”How stupid! Now literally almost no one will wear a mask again. You can’t enforce masks for only ‘some’ people with the “honor” system. Why would the CDC put this out before enough people have gotten vaccinated?”
Another user echoes these sentiments, @katran says, “Why would you do this now with only ~30% adults vaccinated and daily cases still relatively high? We know that many are opposed to vaccinations and won’t wear their masks anyway.”
Many people say they’ll continue wearing a mask, regardless. @Zouthern_Charm says, “Im going to keep wearing my mask…i haven’t smelled someones bad breath or stank ass in over a year. And my face be warm when its cold. I may just wear a mask the rest of my life tbh” Another user, @R_1Golden, writes, “I ain’t taking my mask off till we are done. I care about others.”
A mom, @mgallo31, points out the issues posed by unvaccinated children, saying, “So I can’t bring my 9 yr old into any buildings until he is eligible and fully vaccinated. My 13yr old won’t be fully vaccinated for another month. But we are appeasing grown adults who are hesitant about taking the vaccine….”
“People tend to forget that the mask protects people around the wearer from the wearer more than it protects the wearer from exposure.”
“My advice to cancer patients who are fully vaccinated is to still distance as much as possible and in crowded circumstances wear an N95 mask.”– Dr. Otis Brawley, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Dr. Brawley recommends continued adherence to masking and social distancing for cancer patients.
“My advice to cancer patients who are fully vaccinated is to still distance as much as possible and in crowded circumstances wear an N95 mask. It provides a bit more protection to the wearer. Solid tumor patients are more likely better protected by the vaccine compared to patients with hematologic malignancy. We still need to try to get to herd immunity to protect those who the vaccine will not protect.”
The New York Times reports that “As of Wednesday, about 154 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, but only about one-third of the nation, some 117.6 million people, have been fully vaccinated.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 13, 2021
Getting Vaccinated as a Cancer Patient
For people battling cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic, speak with your doctor about getting the vaccine for this disease. Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, may blunt the immune system, making you more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.
The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Vincent Rajkumar says in an earlier interview that there a few things to know about the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re a cancer patient. Of safety, he says, “It is very safe and there is no increased risk to you just because you have cancer.”
For those wondering when to get the vaccine, he says, “As long as you are feeling well, just go ahead with the vaccine whenever it’s offered to you. Sometimes even on the same day if you are going to the clinic to get a small dose of chemotherapy and they’re giving the vaccine, just get it, there’s really no major problem,” Dr. Rajkumar says.
“The only people for whom we are saying to delay by a month or two are patients who have had a stem cell transplant because we have wiped out everything. And so you want to wait until some of the recovery happens so when you give the vaccine, they have an immune response,” explains Dr. Rajkuma.
Screening for Cancer During COVID-19
Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering says that continuing screening for cancer during the pandemic is critical. In an earlier interview, she says, “So we know that cancer has not gone away just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic.”
“We also know that some elective procedures and potentially preventative care– things like colonoscopies, and mammograms, and pap smears– may have been put off a couple of months because we wanted to limit the number of people that were coming into the hospital and also keep patients at home unless they really needed to leave,” says Dr. Comen.
“But fortunately, now that we have a little bit of a better hold on how to protect patients, how to disinfect,” she says, “how to clean in between patients and scatter so that we’re not crowding our waiting rooms, it’s really, really important to remember to talk to your doctor about your screening mammogram or any other preventative tests that you may need.”