White House official: Guidelines for fully-vaccinated people could be loosened soon

Andy Slavitt COVID-19 response team
Posted at 6:56 AM, Apr 22, 2021

Andy Slavitt, an adviser to the White House COVID-19 response team, said during an interview with CNN Wednesday that he’s “confident” that new guidance for those fully vaccinated against the virus could be coming soon.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper specifically asked Slavitt about whether it’s safe for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear masks outdoors, avoiding crowds and eating indoors at restaurants while safely distanced from others.

“These are very reasonable questions that the country has, and I think they’re in the process of being answered,” Slavitt told CNN.

While Slavitt was not specific on a timeline for updated guidance, he added that he’s “quite confident” that “those questions will be answered” through updated guidance “over the next couple of weeks and months.”

“Those guidelines will absolutely be loosened,” Slavitt said. “They’re going to be science-based, and hopefully very practical.”

Earlier this month, the CDC said that it is now safe for fully vaccinated people to resume travel if they maintain social distancing and wear masks. That updated guidance came about a month after the CDC said that small groups of fully vaccinated people can safely gather indoors without masks.

The CDC defines "fully-vaccinated" as being two weeks removed from a final dose.

Now that one-third of all adults in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated against the virus, some health experts are questioning whether masks are needed outdoors outside of large crowds, where studies have shown transmission rates are much lower.

While it is possible for those who have been vaccinated to contract and spread the virus, those cases are exceedingly rare. A study released by the CDC last week showed that just 0.008% of people who were fully vaccinated later contracted COVID-19, and far fewer were hospitalized or later died after contracting the virus.

Slavitt conceded Wednesday that the CDC may not be “going to be as fast as everyone wants them to” when it comes to rolling back COVID-19 guidance. However, he added that the CDC is being cautious to ensure the safety of everyone in the U.S.

“They like to study the data and make sure they’re, generally speaking, not putting things out that they will have to take back,” Slavitt said.