Biden says allowing fully vaccinated to go maskless indoors is a ‘great milestone’

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President Joe Biden trumpeted updated federal guidance for fully vaccinated populations Thursday while providing an update on the pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus no longer need to wear masks while indoors or outdoors or physically distance in either large or small gatherings, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced during a White House COVID-19 briefing Thursday.

“The CDC is saying, they have concluded, that fully vaccinated people are at a very, very low risk of getting COVID-19,” Biden said. “Therefore if you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.”

“Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do,” the president later added.

Fully vaccinated individuals are still advised to wear masks while in crowded indoor settings such as while on public transportation and in hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. Unvaccinated populations are advised to mask up to protect themselves and those around them who have yet to receive shots.

“As great as this announcement is today, we don’t want to let up. We all know how tough this virus has been,” Biden said. “The safest thing for the country is for everyone to get vaccinated.”

The president’s comments follow an FDA expanded use authorization to allow Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in kids as young as 12, with the CDC following in suit Wednesday.

During the president’s update Thursday, he also reiterated a goal to reach 70% of the U.S. adult population having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. He emphasized that the pandemic will not come to an end until it is tackled globally.

The president delivered his remarks in the Rose Garden and joined Vice President Kamala Harris in leaving the podium, both fully vaccinated and unmasked.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

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