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Health department recommends following new CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals

Public walking, Downtown Columbia, May 13, 2021 Columbia, MO


Local health departments advise following the CDC's new recommendations on fully vaccinated people no longer having to wear a mask. The University of Missouri says it's taking the new CDC guidelines into consideration and is carefully reviewing the information.

Thursday, the CDC announced fully vaccinated individuals would no longer have to wear masks or social distance while indoors or outdoors, as the COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective.

A person is considered fully vaccinated after 2 weeks of their final vaccine dose.

Christian Basi, the University of Missouri's spokesman, says the university will continue to keep its current COVID-19 safety guidelines in place as the university's incident command team will review the CDC's new recommendations.

“Currently, we are going to keep our restrictions in place. Right now we are certainly aware of the new guidelines that just came out today. Our incident command team will be reviewing them and then make a decision based on that," said Basi.

One issue the university is concerned about running into is how to verify if someone is actually vaccinated with the new CDC guidelines.

"One other complication that we have is that it’s very difficult for us to determine or to verify if someone has in fact been vaccinated, and so we want to keep those restrictions in place right now for the safety of others,” said Basi.

Just recently the university stopped requiring students to wear masks while outdoors on campus following the CDC's guidelines released just a week ago. Students are still required to wear masks indoors but can remove them once outside.

Basi says the university is reviewing the new CDC guidelines, but he doesn't predict any changes to the university's current guidelines to be made this week. Changes could be made in the future after reviewing guidelines.

Sara Humm, spokesperson for Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, says the department recommends the public to continue to follow CDC guidelines.

"This new CDC guidance says that If you've been fully vaccinated that you don't have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors," said Humm.

Humm says fully vaccinated individuals should keep in mind when going to public areas, that there is no way to determine who has been vaccinated.

"One other thing I would say though if someone is going to say a late group, a large gathering sometimes you don’t know how many folks have been vaccinated in a group so just kind of thinking of those types of things when you are interacting with folks," said Humm.

Though the CDC allows for fully vaccinated individuals to no longer have to wear a mask or social distance, certain businesses or departments may still require masks, which one would have to abide by. Humm says if it is still required in certain areas or places, even fully vaccinated individuals would still need to follow those rules.

"If that’s a state law a local law, like public transit for example you would still have to wear your mask on public transportation if you were on a bus, or a train or a plane, and is your workplace has any specific rules you would still have to follow those. If a business has specific rules you would still need to follow those, so even though the CDC guidance does say if you are vaccinated you can now live without a mask and social distancing, but there is a caveat there are certain rules you do still have to follow if other places have rules in place," said Humm.

Fully vaccinated individuals can still wear masks if they choose to, as the new ruling could be a big adjustment for some.

"If folks have been fully vaccinated and they still want to wear a mask they can certainly do that, especially if they’re going out to local businesses that still require that as a part of their business rules to shop there, eat there, drink there, whatever it may be," said Humm.  

As of Thursday, Boone County has administered 150,443 vaccine doses; of that 70,444 residents have completed the vaccination process, making up 39% of the county's population as fully vaccinated.

The state has administered 4,221,754 vaccine doses, of that 1,963,683 Missourians have been fully vaccinated, making up 32% of the state's population.

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Victoria Bragg

Victoria Bragg joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in October 2020.

She is a graduate of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas and is a Dallas native.


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