Vax Up or Mask Up, Your Choice...But Is It Really?

In efforts to return back to semi-normalcy, the CDC announced that vaccinated people can stop wearing a mask outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. 

While this may seem like the best possible news, it ultimately raises the questions of how people will show proof of vaccination, and how those who have chosen not to be vaccinated might be segregated or excluded from public settings. 

“Today is a great day for America,” Joe Biden said during an address celebrating the new guidance. “If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.” 

“Get vaccinated, or wear a mask until you do,” he continued. 

Essentially, get vaccinated or be shunned from normalcy. 

As reported by AP News, the guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues. 

“We have all longed for this moment – when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing. 

This announcement comes after the CDC and Biden administration faced mounting pressure to ease restrictions on vaccinated individuals. Indeed, high vaccination rates have paid off, as virus cases are at their lowest rate since September. 

Walensky said the change is thanks to Americans who have chosen to get vaccinated. 

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities – large or small – without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” she said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.” 

Biden echoed the sentiment that unvaccinated Americans should continue to mask up. 

“We’ve gotten this far, please protect yourself until you get to the finish line,” he said. “We’re not going to go out and arrest people.” 

What great news! 

“If you haven’t been vaccinated, wear your mask for your own protection and the protection of the people who also have not been vaccinated yet,” he added. 

The incentive to live a maskless life once again is likely to convince people to get their vaccine, even if they were once against it. But, at the end of the day, is it really your choice?