CDC Director: ‘We Intend to Take Baby Steps’ on What Vaccinated People Can Do

On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky discussed the agency’s guidance on what fully vaccinated individuals can do and stated that the agency intends “to take baby steps” “while still being cautious.” Because 90% of the population isn’t vaccinated. Walensky also said that the guidance will be updated as time goes on and more information is available.

Walensky said, “As you indicated, we’re nearly 10% of the population vaccinated. But that also means that we have 90% of people who are not yet protected and so we intend to take baby steps to make sure that people have hope, people who are vaccinated can be back with their loved ones in their homes, in the privacy of their homes, while still being cautious. Because, in fact, 90% of the population is not quite there yet.”

She added that the CDC’s guidance issued that day is “the first initial step of our guidance. And we do need to — we will need to and will update the guidance as more and more people get vaccinated. We’ll update it as we have information about how the dynamics of this disease are changing through the country over time and as we have more emerging evidence.”

Walensky further stated that while the vaccines do prevent severe disease, hospitalizations, and death, early evidence from other countries shows that people can be infected after vaccination, but with lower amounts of virus, and vaccinated individuals could possibly still transmit to someone else. She added that “the more virus that’s circulating, the more variants that are possible and those variants can emerge and diminish the effect of the vaccine. So, while we’re vaccinating people we really do want to make sure that there’s less and less virus circulating that doesn’t put our vaccine efficacy at risk.”

Walensky also said, “March and April are critical periods here. We have variants in this country. Those variants are increasingly transmissible. We know that they’re more transmissible than the wild-type virus. We also have more and more vaccine coming. And this is really why we have said, for the next couple of months, while we are scaling up vaccination as much as we can, as fast as we can, as much vaccine as we can, please, wear your mask, continue with the mitigation strategies, and give us a fighting chance of making sure that we can get vaccine into people as soon as possible. And as individuals, when that vaccine is available to you, roll up your sleeve and get it.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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