You probably heard the news that came out in mid-May that vaccinated Americans can now safely ditch their masks or other forms of face coverings except in very limited circumstances. It was an abrupt change by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who just at the end of April said that vaccinated Americans needed to remain masked in all indoor scenarios along with crowded outdoor venues.

So, what was behind the change in philosophy? Most experts believe that the CDC was behind the science since vaccinations picked up around the country in the early part of 2021, and they are now catching up to that research.

Fulton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has a look at what went into the CDC’s loosening of mask restrictions.

New Study Results of Vaccinated Individuals

Two studies published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in the week before the CDC announcement provided concrete details of how effective the COVID-19 vaccines are, especially the two-shot versions from Pfizer and Moderna. One study of 6,700 healthcare workers in Israel found that the Pfizer vaccine was 97% effective at protecting people from getting sick with COVID and 86% effective at preventing an asymptomatic infection. The other study found that the vaccines were 90% effective at preventing both types of infections in 4,000 healthcare workers in the U.S.

Statistics of Vaccinated Individuals Are Emerging

The CDC says that of the over 117 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, there were just 9,245 of those who later tested positive for the virus. And the CDC added that those infections were mostly of the mild variety—no more than a common cold or mild flu.

Vaccines Proving Effective Against Variants

Perhaps the final hurdle to clear was whether the vaccines that were already produced before different strains of the virus became prevalent would be as effective against those variants. Studies show that the vaccines are 90% effective at preventing infection from the variant that’s emerged from the United Kingdom and 75% effective against the strain that was first identified in South Africa.


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