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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."

Go deeper

Updated Aug 13, 2021 - Health

U.S. approves third vaccine dose for certain immunocompromised people

Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both recommended that certain immunocompromised people receive a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

Why it matters: Data suggest that people with weakened immune systems don't generate strong enough levels of protection against the virus with just two doses, but a third dose could significantly help.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker