May 5, 2021 - Health

CDC chief: Vaccinated adolescents at camps can remove masks if outside

Director Rochelle Walensky testifies at a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on April 15, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky during a House hearing on Capitol Hill in April. Photo: Amr Alfiky-Pool/Getty Images

Adolescents vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to remove face masks if they're outside at summer camps, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Critics had called CDC guidance, issued last month, stating that everyone at summer camps should be masked unless eating, drinking or swimming "unfairly draconian."

Driving the news: With the Food and Drug Administration preparing to authorize the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, Walensky clarified the policy at a news conference Wednesday.

What she's saying: "If we have authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds and they can get vaccinated before going to camp, that's what I would advocate for so that they can take their masks off outdoors," Walensky said.

  • "What we're really trying to avoid in this camp guidance is what we saw in outbreaks in camps last summer."
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