Wear a mask if you are vaccinated? Why the WHO and the CDC don’t have the same guidelines


Even people who are fully vaccinated should wear masks, according to the WHO.

Sarah Tew / CNET

For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit WHO and CDC websites.

Should masks be thrown away for those who are vaccinated against COVID? It depends who you ask. In the case of the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are totally different recommendations for masks for people who have been vaccinated for totally different reasons. The dispute is also a legal or political responsibility.

On June 25, WHO Deputy Director-General Dr Mariângela Batista Galvão Simão alarmed by recommending that vaccinated people must continue to wear masks, even if they have received two doses of a vaccine like Pfizer or AstraZeneca. A few days later, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky appeared contradict the opinion of the WHO, citing the high rate of protection of those vaccinated against the delta variant and other strains of COVID.

The conflicting advice comes as the highly contagious delta variant continue to dominate new cases in the world, including in the United States. WHO and CDC agree that people who are do not vaccinees should continue to wear face masks, but why do they disagree with a barrier above the nose and mouth? This story has been updated with new information.

Why don’t the WHO and the CDC agree on face masks for those vaccinated?

A few days after the WHO recommendation that people who received the COVID-19 vaccine should continue to wear a face mask, Dr. Antoine Fauci, a leading authority on infectious diseases in the United States (and adviser to seven presidents) explained why the advice differs from that of the CDC.

“There is a reason for this,” Fauci said in a White House virtual press conference with Walensky. “WHO is responsible for the planet as a whole. It’s different in the world at large from here to the United States.”

Only 23.7% of the world’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the vaccine tracking site Our World in Data. The United States almost doubles that number: 47% of Americans are considered fully vaccinated as of June 30, according to the Mayo Clinic.

For Fauci and Walensky, the urgency is less to wear a face mask after vaccination and more to get more Americans vaccinated in the first place. To support his argument, Fauci cited results that show that two doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are 90% or more effective against hospitalization of the delta variant.


Fauci used the data in this slide to explain why differences between global and U.S. vaccination rates resulted in two official mask-wearing recommendations that seemed to contradict each other.

Screenshot by CNET

WHO guidelines: people vaccinated should wear face masks

Wearing a mask is still important, even for people who have been vaccinated, WHO Deputy Director-General Simão said. said during a press briefing June 25. “People cannot feel safe just because they have received the two doses. They still need to protect themselves.”

Wearing masks in public places is essential to help people inhale particles that will make them sick, said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the US infectious disease epidemiologist, at the same briefing.

While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines show robust protection against variants, “breakthrough” infections can still occur sporadically. In a first case in June, a fully vaccinated woman in Napa, California died from COVID-19. She was over 65 and was reported having underlying medical conditions.

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CDC advice: people vaccinated can do without masks in the United States

the Current CDC Mask Wearing Guidelines remains the same for people who are fully vaccinated. The guidelines say those who are fully vaccinated can “resume their activities without wearing masks or moving away” except when necessary, such as on planes and businesses.

Walensky, the director of the agency, stuck to this orientation on Today’s NBC Show Wednesday, claiming that fully vaccinated people are protected against the delta variant.

the CDC warned CNN Saturday that there is still a small chance that fully vaccinated people could be infected with the new variant if exposed. We asked the CDC for comment.

Why is the delta variant of the coronavirus important?

The delta variant is the latest of the new coronavirus variants and the most contagious of the variants identified to date, According to the WHO. The delta variant has been identified in 85 countries so far and is spreading among the unvaccinated population, the organization said at the press conference.

“The delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the United States to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19”, Fauci said at a White House press briefing June 22.


Some countries are returning to containment to curb the spread.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Will there be more warrants and mask locks?

Some countries have already started to tighten restrictions related to COVID-19. For example, four cities across Australia have returned to lockdown, including the state of Sydney in New South Wales. In the USA, Los Angeles County highly recommend face masks indoors whether someone has been vaccinated or not, although masks are not required in most places. Some countries within Africa and Asia – for example, South Africa and Malaysia – have also moved to containment due to the spread of the delta variant.

Some places have never loosened mask mandates, like airports and airlines. In the United States, other public transportation requires masks, such as buses and trains.

For more information, here’s what you need to know about ‘Long COVID’ and how it is treated. Also read these Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and Dos and Don’ts to Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.

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