Federal health officials offered advice that people who were fully vaccinated could give up face masks in most places, and this came as a surprise to Americans and opened a discussion about vaccines and infection prevention.
White House spokeswoman Gene Saki said in a press briefing on Friday that even the White House had received less than a day’s notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In her report , published in the New York Times, writer Apoorva Mandafili quoted Saki as saying that “the CDC, and the doctors and medical experts there are the ones who have determined what this directive will rely on based on their own data and schedule. This is a decision issued by the White House. ” For months, federal officials stressed the need to wear masks and social distancing to contain the epidemic.
What has changed?
While presenting the new recommendations on Thursday, Dr. Rochelle B. Wallinsky, Director-General of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cited two recent scientific discoveries that she saw as important factors, and that few people who have been vaccinated contract the virus, and transmission appears to be rare, and it appears. Vaccines are effective in fighting all known strains of Corona virus, and there is no doubt at this stage that vaccines are powerful.
And on Friday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of another large study showing that vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna are 94% effective in preventing symptomatic disease in those who have been fully vaccinated, and effective even in those who have only been partially vaccinated. 82%.
“The science is pretty clear on this,” said Zoe McLaren, a health policy expert at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
She indicated that mounting evidence reveals that people who have been vaccinated are unlikely to contract or transmit the virus, and said that the risk is “definitely not absent, but it is clear that it is very low.”
The author stated that one of the fears that haunts scientists is that even a person who has been vaccinated may carry the virus, perhaps for a short period without symptoms, and transmit it to others, but the CDC’s research found a small number of infections among those who received the Pfizer-Biontech vaccines. (Pfizer-BioNTech) and Moderna.
Florian Kramer, a virologist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said that other recent studies confirm that people infected after vaccination carry fewer viruses and do not transmit the infection to others. However, Dr. Kramer cautioned that most of the data collected is for Pfizer-Bionic and Moderna vaccines. And because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was licensed at a later time, there are fewer studies evaluating its effectiveness.
In clinical trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 72% effective, less effective than the Pfizer-Bionic and Moderna vaccines. Dr. Kramer said, “It is a very good vaccine, and I am sure that it will save many lives, but we need more data on how effective the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is in preventing infection, and how successful it is in preventing transmission.”
The author indicated that the mutated strains of the virus were of particular concern to scientists. While Dr. Walinsky cited evidence showing that RNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna are effective in controlling strains circulating in the United States, there is little data on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and its efficacy against the strains.
In a statement on Friday, a spokesperson for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said, “All approved vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death, and we are collecting data that our approved vaccines are effective against the strains that circulate in this country.”
And people who have been fully vaccinated are not likely to become seriously ill, even if they are infected with the Coronavirus. The risk of infection is usually greater in the people around them, such as unvaccinated children and adults, or people at risk of infection because they suffer from a medical condition or undergo certain treatment, despite having received the vaccine.
Officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that they took these factors into account and were confident in their assessment of the science, and the new advice will have other beneficial effects, as it rewards people who have been fully immunized by allowing them to end their social isolation and encouraging others to make sure they get vaccinated.
Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practices and community engagement at Bloomberg College at Johns Hopkins University, said the new advice “indicates that we are really in the final stage of our war on the epidemic, and I think this is a very good thing for people,” adding that “it is unlikely.” To witness another big surge in the number of infections. “
And state, city and county leaders – in America – still wield the power to enforce the wearing of masks even on people who have been vaccinated. After the CDC announced, some states immediately lifted the mandatory wearing of masks, while others said they would need more time to evaluate the evidence.
Low casualties in America
For her part, Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, said that the number of cases in the country is the lowest since last September, and many experts support mandates to remove the muzzle in most parts of the country.
Rivers added that doing so would be more dangerous in areas like Michigan, where there are more cases, and in unprotected people, including children under 12 and people with weakened immune systems. She also stressed the need for unvaccinated people to continue wearing masks in public places and to avoid crowds.
In Nacogdoshs, Texas, Dr. Ahmed Hashem expressed his concern about the small number of people vaccinated and the slow pace of vaccination. However, only 1 or 2 people out of 10 in local stores wear masks.
“I think that the CDC may send an error message saying that everything is fine,” Hashem said, stressing that the situation will not improve unless 60% or 70% of the population receives the vaccine. Nationwide, only 36% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
The author indicated that individuals are independent in choosing their decisions based on their perception of their own risks, but local leaders must determine what is best for society based on the rate of injuries.
“These are two different things. When it gets mixed up, people may make bad judgments about this policy,” said Dr. Scharfstein.
In this regard, Dr. McLaren said that the new guidelines should serve as a reminder for health officials to intensify their efforts and investments to ensure universal access to vaccines, and that parents of children under the age of 12 should continue to urge them to wear masks indoors.
The new CDC policy urges people who are immunocompromised to protect themselves from unmasked and unvaccinated people.
“When we create a policy we need to balance the needs and desires of everyone. We can continue to wear masks forever, but returning to a more normal life will benefit everyone,” said Dr. McLaren.