The CDC has been issuing safety guidance since the beginning of the pandemic and masking has become a controversial recommendation.
The latest CDC guidelines say fully vaccinated individuals can take their masks off while outdoors in small crowds only.
“The CDC guidelines for mask use are definitely very important to follow,” said Melinda Joyce, Vice President of Corporate Support Services with Med Center Health.
However, one local doctor says otherwise.
“I appreciate that the CDC wants to give people guidance, but I wish they would give us data. Instead, I think people can make their own decisions based on their risk factors and their vaccination status,” said Dr. Kelly Kries, a pediatrician at Bowling Green Internal Medicine & Pediatric Associates.
Kries believes those who are vaccinated shouldn’t be forced to mask up.
“If you’re telling someone, they get a vaccine, and nothing in their life changes, then why get a vaccine that has its risk, because there are risks with everything,” she said.
Meanwhile, Joyce agrees with the CDC guidance and says masks likely won’t be going anywhere until we reach herd immunity which means 75 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
“If you’re in a crowd outside and you don’t know the people that are around you, then you’re not going to know whether or not those people have been vaccinated,” said Joyce.
Kries says she feels comfortable unmasking based on the data she has observed.
“The chance of asymptomatic spread is 0.7%. Now add to that the fact that you’re vaccinated, then you bring your risk of transmitting this virus down substantially,” she said. “I feel very comfortable in my clinic, if patients are vaccinated, or if had COVID, we take off our mask, and we share smiles.”