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Health Insider: Valley doctor goes in-depth about new mask guidance from CDC

Fans No Masks
Posted at 6:31 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 09:49:31-04

PHOENIX — The CDC announced Thursday that fully vaccinated individuals can gather without masks and can do so without physically distancing.

ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Janice Johnston of Redirect Health spoke with ABC15 Mornings Friday about what the new guidance means for our communities.

"In the medical community, we've actually been waiting for this announcement," Dr. Johnston said. "It's something that's very welcome. I'm surprised it happened so quickly, just because our community is not all the way where we would want it to be."


What is she recommending to her patients?

"Everyone still needs to evaluate their own risks," Dr. Johnston said. "I'm encouraging all of my patients to get vaccinated...I think this latest recommendation...really shows us how effective vaccinations are in terms of keeping us safe."

Can someone who is vaccinated and someone who is unvaccinated get together without a mask?

Current recommendations are that two fully vaccinated people -- those who have received both doses of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (or one dose of Johnson and Johnson) and have gone two weeks beyond that point -- can safely get together without masks, Johnston said.

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Will this speed up the process of getting employees back into offices quicker after working from home for so long?

"Absolutely," Dr. Johnston said. "This is an opportunity to get people back together."

Dr. Johnston wants to remind people that even if you're fully vaccinated, there's still discussion on how effective the vaccine is for those with compromised immune systems, and those who may be at risk should consider continuing to wear masks.

If your kids can't get vaccinated because they are not yet eligible, should you still wear masks?

"We still want you to be practicing precautions," Dr. Johnston said in reference to those who are unvaccinated.

I'm vaccinated but not wearing a mask -- could I be infected by a new coronavirus variant?

"That's always a concern," Dr. Johnston said. "Right now, we do see (vaccinations) are effective against these variants."

Dr. Johnston said over time, we could see a change in effectiveness against variants as they pop up. That will need additional research and data.

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The mission of ABC15's Health Insider series is to dive deeper into the things impacting your health and the health of those around you. We're going in-depth with expert advice from people who know it, see it every day in their work and study it. Have a story idea? Contact the team at