BUFFALO, N.Y. — The CDC is updating some of its guidelines for people who have completed their COVID vaccine series. It's saying that if you're fully vaccinated you can stop wearing your mask and social distancing in almost all situations.
Dr. Nancy Nielsen, UB's Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy, spoke with 2 On Your Side to share her reaction to the news and explained how the CDC came to this decision.
Dr. Nielsen shared with us that the CDC made this decision based on three studies that showed if you are vaccinated you're protected against COVID-19 and asymptomatic infection, so you don't pose a risk of infecting anybody else either. This information came out of a study that appeared in JAMA online just days ago and shifted this debate away from the "wearing masks everywhere" mentality.
According to the latest data, there are still a number of Western New Yorkers that haven't been vaccinated. Various health and institutions are looking at creative ways to promote the vaccination effort. Dr. Nielsen recognizes that some people may not want to get their vaccine, but she says, "the bottom line message from the CDC is if you're vaccinated, you're golden. If you're not vaccinated, you're taking a terrible chance." She also urges people to not "put yourself through that."
Dr. Nielsen says that there are several reasons why people won't get vaccinated. But if you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated - meaning you're not two weeks out from your final shot - you should still wear a mask.
We've also heard from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Governor Cuomo on the guideline changes. You can read their statements and plans for what's next at the local and state level here.