Loosened mask and social distancing recommendations provide new incentives for Alabamians to be vaccinated for COVID-19


CONTACT: Karen Landers, M.D.
(256) 383-1231

Anyone who is fully vaccinated can now participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing from others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday.

COVID-19 cases have continued to fall dramatically, and the CDC reports that a growing number of studies have shown the following:

1. Vaccines are working in the real world. Studies show them to be more than 90 percent effective in the real world settings in preventing mild and severe disease, hospitalization and death.

2. Vaccines have proven to be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 variants currently circulating in the country.

3. If you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to spread the virus. A growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and to be able to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “We continue to encourage everyone to be vaccinated to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Vaccination is safe, effective and free. If you have concerns, talk with your healthcare provider, especially if you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system.”

Being fully vaccinated means people are 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series such as Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

This guidance does not apply to all settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, doctors’ offices, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and other places where required by law, rules and regulations. This includes local businesses and workplaces. Until more people and children are vaccinated, teachers, school administrators, and staff should continue to follow CDC’s school guidance.

Masks will still be required on public transportation at this time because people sitting or standing nearby may not be vaccinated. To further reduce risk, vaccinated people may also choose to wear a mask if they are in a community with lower vaccination rates and higher rates of disease. Children under 12 years old will still need to take precautions, including wearing a well-fitted mask.

Visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website, alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19vaccine, or the CDC website, cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/, for credible, reliable and updated information on getting vaccinated. Vaccination sites are located throughout the state.

County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.

Mission: To promote, protect, and improve Alabama’s health

Vision: Healthy People. Healthy Communities. Healthy Alabama.