New Mask Guidelines Released for Vaccinated People, Which May Affect CA’s Communities of Color

This+sticker+reading%2C+%22I+GOT+MY+COVID-19+VACCINE%21%22+was+handed+out+with+a+second+dose+of+the+Pfizer+vaccine+at+the+Hook+Community+Center+in+Victorville%2C+which+offers+appointments+to+all+individuals+16%2B+who+live+or+work+in+San+Bernardino+County.

Leslie Tello

This sticker reading, “I GOT MY COVID-19 VACCINE!” was handed out with a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Hook Community Center in Victorville, which offers appointments to all individuals 16+ who live or work in San Bernardino County.

Vivien Tran, Journalist

On April 27, 2021, the CDC announced new guidelines for vaccinated individuals. People can attend small gatherings without the use of masks if they are vaccinated but it is highly suggested they wear masks in crowded areas. Fully vaccinated means already having had the second shot of the vaccine, or first if it is a single dose, two weeks ago. 

Vaccinated people do not have to wear masks while walking or jogging outside, going to small gatherings, or dining at outdoor restaurants with friends. According to NPR, when at the mall, grocery store, or anywhere public, wear a mask. People are allowed to hug their family and friends if both are fully vaccinated. Small indoor group activities with loved ones are a yes. Not wearing a mask to a friend’s house is okay but as long as the household is all vaccinated or not at risk of getting COVID-19. 

“With the new mask guidelines, I’m able to go to small gatherings with my family and friends without masks and it’s great for me since I hate wearing a mask. I will still wear masks outdoors and indoors in crowded areas,” junior Jennifer Tran expressed. 

An infographic made by the CDC was revealed to help people to determine whether or not to wear a mask. Going to the movie theaters, going to get a haircut, and eating at an indoor restaurant requires a mask. 

“I am old enough to get the vaccine but I haven’t gotten it yet because I’m busy but I am so excited for the new guidelines. Once I get it then I can hang out with my friends and spend time with family!” sophomore Grant Santos commented. 

In San Bernardino County, over 716,000 residents are partially or fully vaccinated as of April 29, according to the San Bernardino Sun

ABC7 states, “The SoCal zip code with the lowest fully vaccinated percentage is zip code 92310 in San Bernardino County, at a rate of just 3%. But the overall trend, especially in urban areas of Southern California, shows poorer, younger communities of color are still lagging in getting their vaccines.”

Communities of color are having a harder time getting the vaccine, and the new mask suggestions might unintentionally make the problem worse. USA Today states, “The science supports the agency’s new guidelines, but experts say easing mask restrictions may imply that vaccination is now just a matter of choice, and it could undermine urgency to reach vulnerable communities still awaiting access to vaccines.” 

The article goes on to say that because restrictions are being lifted, that people may think the work is done prematurely. People of color across the country disproportionately face factors which make it harder to get vaccinated. For example, they may not have access to hospitals, speak English, or have regular access to the internet. Data shows that once access problems are addressed, people line up to get the vaccine, indicating that vaccine hesitancy is not the main issue.

As of April 29, 2021, 39 million caucasians have fully gotten the vaccine but only 5.7 million Latinos and 4.8 million Black people have gotten the vaccine, which is a small amount compared to the caucasians. In San Bernardino County, as of April 28, 2021, 108,746 Non-Hispanic White residents, or about 21.8% of the population, are fully vaccinated. In turn, 158,735 Hispanic or Latino residents, or about 18.4% of the population; and 21,946 Non-Hispanic Black or African American residents, or 16.3% of the population are fully vaccinated as well.

All people 16 and older can now get vaccinated. People should visit https://sbcovid19.com/vaccine/ to learn more.