La Crosse doctor weighs in on CDC guidance changes for vaccinated people

Mayo Clinic Health System doctor says masks and social distancing still recommended in public places
Cdc Recommendations

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – People who are vaccinated for COVID-19 can visit safely with others without a mask, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The new guidance comes as vaccines roll out across the country.

However, Dr. Raj Palraj, an infectious disease expert at Mayo Clinic Health System, said people shouldn’t abandon every rule practiced over the past year.

“It’s not safe to return to normal. Again, if you look at the number of people who have been vaccinated,” Palraj said. “We have close to 10 percent of Americans who have been vaccinated. That still leaves 90 percent of Americans who are still vulnerable.”

The CDC released new recommendations Monday giving the okay for vaccinated people to gather indoors with other people without a mask. These people do not need to quarantine or test for COVID-19 if they do not have symptoms. This advice is only temporary.

“It should be taken as an interim guidance and each individual person should assess what amount of risk; they are willing to take,” Palraj said.

People are itching to get back to the life they knew. Palraj said we are close.

“I think the (new) CDC guidance is a step in that direction,” Palraj said.

Vaccine continues to make its way into arms around the region. Palraj received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and said he hopes more people follow his example.

‘I’m happy I’m protected,” he said.

Palraj believes the vaccine is the way back to a physically present world.

“I would strongly encourage people to decide for themselves, look at the data and make a choice to get vaccinated,” he said.

Mayo Clinic Health System leaders say more than 20,000 people are vaccinated through their health system clinics. Health care workers are vaccinating between six hundred and eight hundred people each day.