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Dr. Walensky CDC Update Rescinding Mask Requirements Transcript Covid 19 May 13 2021

May 15th, 2021 (edited)
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  1. DR. WALENSKY: And finally, I want to provide you an update regarding CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people. Over the course of the pandemic, we are continuously gathering data and evidence to inform our guidance and decision making. We now have numerous reports in the literature that demonstrate the safety and real-world effectiveness of the authorized vaccines.
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  3. On this slide, there are three recently published studies — one from Israel published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, on the top, and two from the United States, both published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report — which all show that COVID-19 vaccines work.
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  5. In Israel, there was a demonstrated 97 percent vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic and 86 percent effectiveness against asymptomatic infection in over 5,000 healthcare workers. In the United States, vaccines were 90 percent effective against any infection in nearly 4,000 healthcare workers, and 94 percent effective against hospitalizations from COVID-19 in an evaluation across 24 hospitals in 14 states.
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  7. Additionally, we are accumulating data that our authorized vaccines are effective against the variants that are circulating in this country.
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  9. On this slide, you can see a study published just last week that demonstrates how effective the Pfizer vaccine is against the common circulating variants in the United States, B117, as well as other variants like B1351.
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  11. Additional studies confirmed that the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also effective against circulating variants.
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  13. Finally, we know that in the rare event that people get infected after a vaccine, the resulting infection is more likely to have a lower viral load, be shorter in duration, and likely less risky of transmission to others.
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  15. Considering all of these factors — the data on vaccine effectiveness, the science on our ability to protect against circulating variants, and our growing understanding of the low risk of transmission to others, combined with universal access to vaccines for those 12 and older — today, CDC is updating our guidance for fully vaccinated people.
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  17. Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.
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  19. Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines, and our understanding of how the virus spreads, that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated.
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  21. Now, if you are immune compromised, you will most definitely want to talk to your doctor before giving up your mask. Also, locations such as healthcare facilities will continue to follow their specific infection control recommendations.
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  23. And lastly, this past year has shown us that this virus can be unpredictable. So if things get worse, there is always a chance we may need to make change to these recommendations. But we know that the more people who are vaccinated, the less cases we will have and the less chance of a new spike or additional variants emerging.
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  25. If you develop symptoms, you should put your mask back on and get tested right away.
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  27. The science is also very clear about unvaccinated people: You remain at risk of mild or severe illness of death or spreading the disease to others. You should still mask, and you should get vaccinated right away.
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  29. This is an exciting and powerful moment. It could only happen because of the work of so many who made sure we had the rapid administration of three safe and effective vaccines. It could also only happen because we have an adequate supply of those vaccines for everyone 12 years and older in this country. Your health and how soon you return to normal life before the pandemic are in your very capable hands.
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  31. If you are not yet vaccinated, please go to Vaccines.gov or text your ZIP Code to “GET VAX” — that that is 438829 — to find a vaccine in your area. Once you are fully vaccinated, two weeks after your last dose, you can shed your mask.
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  34. Transcript from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/05/13/press-briefing-by-white-house-covid-19-response-team-and-public-health-officials-36/
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  36. Edited to include transcript source reference and update title.
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