If You Take This Medication, Wear a Mask Even If You're Vaccinated, CDC Says
Getting the COVID vaccine has made many people more secure about once again engaging in the everyday activities they used to enjoy, from dining indoors to seeing movies with friends. While many vaccinated people are once again performing these activities without masks on, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are now recommending that people who take one particular type of medication start wearing their masks regularly again—even if they're vaccinated. Read on to discover what the CDC is recommending and how it could affect you.
In guidance to the public updated on Aug. 19, the CDC recommends that anyone who takes immunosuppressant medication—a classification that includes corticosteroids, mTOR inhibitors, IMDH inhibitors, Janus kinase inhibitors, calcineurin inhibitors, and monoclonal antibodies, among others—follow the health authority's recommendations for unvaccinated people.
This includes wearing a mask in public indoor settings, practicing social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, practicing adequate hand hygiene, and regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
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Similarly, vaccinated people who have conditions that have an immunosuppressant effect should wear masks in public and otherwise follow guidance for unvaccinated people, the CDC says.
While the amount of protection COVID vaccines confer to immunocompromised individuals varies from person to person, a May study published in JAMA found that, among individuals who were immunocompromised due to an organ transplant, just 17 percent had COVID antibodies after receiving their first dose of a COVID vaccine.
The idea that the COVID vaccine may not have provided as much protection as you'd hoped may be distressing, but there is a silver lining. As of Aug. 13, the CDC now recommends that individuals ages 12 and up with many immunosuppressive conditions receive a third dose of the COVID vaccine 28 days or more after receiving their second dose.
The CDC recommends that some otherwise healthy wear masks indoors right now, too.
Though many people have eagerly ditched their masks after getting vaccinated against COVID, doing so may have been premature in light of the highly contagious Delta variant's spread.
In addition to immunosuppressed individuals, the CDC now recommends that individuals in "areas of substantial or high transmission" wear a mask indoors, too.