Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will no longer wear a face mask on Capitol Hill because he has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Cruz told CNN Thursday that he and other senators and staff working on the Hill have been vaccinated and that he no longer needs to wear a face mask. In the past, Cruz has compared said that wearing face masks after being vaccinated is a type of theatrical virtue signaling.
“At this point I’ve been vaccinated. Everybody working in the Senate has been vaccinated,” Cruz said. He is the second lawmaker, following Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), to ditch face masks on Capitol Hill.
Once vaccinated, Americans have almost no chance of contracting COVID-19. Out of 76.6 million Americans who have received the vaccine, about 5,800 people have later tested positive for the virus, an infection rate of 0.008%, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
CDC guidelines on what one can and cannot do post-vaccination are relatively restrictive, recommending people stay away from medium to large gatherings and maintain social distancing and wear masks while in public settings. According to the CDC, vaccinated people can unmask in private settings with a group of people who have also been vaccinated. Vaccinated people may also travel via plane with being tested before and after or quarantining.
The agency has explained its hesitancy to encourage further socializing by vaccinated people by stating that researchers are still studying the limits of what getting vaccinated can accomplish. The CDC states:
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions — like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces — in public places until we know more.
A recent decision by the Biden administration to suggest pausing further vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has undermined Americans’ confidence in the vaccine despite the number of alleged complications being close to one-in-a-million.
“Fieldwork for the latest Economist/YouGov poll on vaccine safety perceptions was in the midst of being conducted when the Centers for Disease Control made the decision to suspend the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” YouGov said in a press release. “Comparing the results from those who took the survey before the announcement with those who took the survey afterward shows the huge impact the CDC’s decision has had on the perceived safety of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”
“Among those who started the survey before the announcement about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause, about half (52%) considered the shot ‘very safe’ or ‘somewhat safe’ — twice the number who believed it ‘very unsafe’ or ‘somewhat unsafe,’” the poll said. “After the announcement was made, these figures had converged — just 37% called the vaccine safe, and 39% feeling it unsafe.”