BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For the new CDC guidelines to work, people have to follow them and trust that others will do the same. Under the new guidelines, fully vaccinated people can shed their masks indoors and outdoors.
Many Americans have not followed guidelines since the pandemic began. Now, many are left to wonder if maskless means vaccinated.
Less than 40% of Americans are fully vaccinated.
“I feel like a lot of people will say they are vaccinated even if they aren’t just so they can take off the masks,” said Amanda Zale. She, like many, said she’ll continue to wear her mask when she’s unsure.
Julian Hawkins has not been vaccinated. He said he will continue to wear his mask in accordance to the new guidelines.
“I feel like everybody got the right to do what they want to do,” said Hawkins. “As for me, I say wear the masks for safety reasons.”
Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson said, even under loosened guidelines, following safety precautions will help stop the spread.
“We still don’t want people to get too complacent and we still want people that aren’t vaccinated to wear a mask,” said Wilson.
To reach heard immunity, roughly 70-80% of people need to be fully vaccinated. Jefferson County has a ways to go.
“That’s about 30% of our population in Jefferson County [that is fully vaccinated],” said Wilson. “Or 35% of those 12 and over.”
Some feel there should be no guidelines, that masks and vaccines should be a personal choice.
“It’s optional,” said Dave Voran, who has been vaccinated. “If you want to get sick, get sick. It’s your choice. If you don’t want to get the shot or if you don’t want to wear a mask. Freedom of choice.”
Others say they’ll wear a mask any time they are around others.
“Personally, I wear my mask,” said Quintin Banks. “I think everyone should wear their mask regardless of if they’re vaccinated.”
The CDC director has assured people who are vaccinated that they are fully protected. Those who have not been vaccinated take a risk when they don’t wear masks.