May 14, 2021
Fully vaccinated people can do more without wearing a face covering
So many of us are longing to do the things we may have taken for granted before COVID-19 disrupted our lives. Getting together with friends at a restaurant. Celebrating milestones with loved ones. Attending a sporting event.
Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have given fully vaccinated folks the okay to stop wearing face coverings in many settings, it seems like we may be getting closer to doing some of these things we loved to do.
Oregon Health Authority’s Dr. Dean Sidelinger answered questions about the new masking guidance in a media availability earlier today. The bottom line? You can help end the pandemic by getting your free COVID-19 vaccine and by continuing to practice safety precautions like wearing a face covering and keeping physically distant. You can watch a recording of today’s media availability by clicking on the image below.
New guidance for fully vaccinated Oregonians
On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown announced that Oregon will begin following newly announced CDC guidance for mask wearing, which only applies to fully vaccinated individuals. For vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States, persons are considered fully vaccinated:
In the coming days, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will be providing updated guidance for businesses, employers and others to allow the option of lifting mask and physical distancing requirements after verifying vaccination status.
Will vaccines protect from the variants? The answer is yes
The good news keeps coming on the authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The current data suggests the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer protection against severe illness and death caused by all variants of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, OHA Senior Health Advisor Melissa Sutton and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) assistant professor of medicine (infectious disease) Bill Messer answered questions on the variants on a Facebook Live. You can view the video in Spanish or English.
Time stamps for the questions are below:
9:26 – Are the vaccinated causing the variants? Are they asymptomatic spreaders
10:21 – What’s the difference between variants of concern and variants of interest?
11:40 – If the vaccines work against the variants, why are we not seeing a decrease in cases?
13:23 – How many variants are circulating in Oregon, and do we know if the vaccine covers the variants?
14:55 – How can you know that the increase in cases is due to variants?
15:45 – Does B.1.1.7 spread more easily outdoors, or is it still transmitted more easily indoors?
16:55 – How are these COVID-19 variants any different than the variants of the flu each year?
18:59 – Are variants detected by a standard COVID-19 test?
19:46 – Are you taking random samples of positive tests for sequencing, or are you limiting sequencing to breakthrough cases?
21:49 – If the vaccine doesn’t stop the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus, it just reduces the symptoms of COVID-19, how are the people doing symptoms-wise with these new variants?
23:33 – Wouldn’t the OHA Variants Dashboard be more useful if variants were expressed as percentages of total sequenced samples at all Oregon sequencing labs, plus the variations of these percentages with time, say per week or month?
24:40 – How long will the vaccine be effective against the variants?