Former Acting CDC Director: If You’re Fully Vaccinated and Go Maskless, You’re Safe from Unvaccinated People

By Melanie Arter | May 14, 2021 | 4:47pm EDT
Luke Allan, 13, waits to receive a Covid-19 vaccination at the Fairfax Government Center vaccination clinic in Fairfax, Virginia on May 13, 2021. - The campaign to immunize America's 17 million adolescents aged 12-to-15 kicked off in full force on May 13, a key part of President Joe Biden's strategy to push the country close to herd immunity. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Luke Allan, 13, waits to receive a Covid-19 vaccination at the Fairfax Government Center vaccination clinic in Fairfax, Virginia on May 13, 2021. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Former acting CDC Director Dr. Richard Besser said Friday that even if you don’t whether someone’s fully vaccinated, if you yourself is fully vaccinated, you can feel comfortable knowing that if someone who is not vaccinated is around you and they don’t have a mask on, you are safe and so are they.

Besser told “CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell” that he met the CDC’s updated guidance on wearing masks indoors “with a lot of joy,” adding that it marks “a historic change in how we're responding to this pandemic, but that being said, the response to the pandemic is local, and how this pandemic plays out is local.”


“So, it's very important that people listen to their local officials and that local officials look at what's taking place in their communities. So, I don't expect that everyone's going to jump on board right away, and I also expect that it's going to take some people time to come to grips with this. We've all been incredibly traumatized during this pandemic,” he said.

“One of the things that gives us a sense of security is wearing those masks, keeping away from other people. It's going to take a while to undo that and feel comfortable that the science says for people who are fully vaccinated, that's a safe thing to do,” Besser said.

Besser responded to a viewer’s question about how anyone will know he is fully vaccinated and can go maskless indoors.

“You don't. The good thing to know is that if you are fully vaccinated, you are very safe. That's the piece there that's really important. It's going to be really important that the CDC and others continue to track what's happening with variants to make sure that people who are fully vaccinated are protected against variants,” he said.

“I hope that this provides some more incentive for people who aren't vaccinated, if they needed more to say, if you're fully vaccinated, you can feel comfortable doing these activities because when you're vaccinated, you're helping protect yourself, you're helping protect those who can't get vaccinated, like young children and those for whom vaccines may not be very effective,” Besser said. 

“Some people with immunodeficiencies. You can do your part in that way, but remember, if someone is around you and they don't have a mask on, and they haven't been vaccinated, you are still very safe,” he added.

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