(NEXSTAR) – The nation’s top infectious disease expert urged people to set aside their masks when outside, with the exception of very “unusual” outdoor situations.
Speaking to CBS This Morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “If you are vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask outside.”
He added that “it would be a very unusual situation, if you were going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other, then you wear a mask.”
“But any other time,” he said, “if you’re vaccinated and you’re outside, put aside your mask. You don’t have to wear it.”
The CDC issued new guidelines in April, stipulating that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues.”
Earlier in the interview, Fauci spoke about vaccinating children. A government advisory committee recommended Pfizer’s vaccine for children 12 and older on Wednesday after the Food and Drug Administration expanded authorization of the shots to the age group earlier in the week. The vaccine will be available for that age group as early as Thursday.
Fauci said he’s not convinced that COVID-19 vaccines should be required for children to go back to school.
“Whenever you’re talking about requiring something, that’s always a charged issue,” Fauci said on CBS This Morning. “I’m not so sure we should be requiring children at all. We should be encouraging them. But you got to be careful when you make a requirement of something. That usually gets you into a lot of pushback, understandable pushback.”
Fauci sought to ease concerns about side effects of the vaccine, saying “the safety profile is really quite firm and sound,” adding that the vaccine has been administered for nearly a year with “no long-term effects that anyone could notice.”
According to a recent study, 30% of parents of children ages 12-15 said they would get their kids vaccinated right away, 26% said they would wait, 18% said they would get them vaccinated only if it’s a school requirement, and 23% said they “definitely” would not get them vaccinated at all.
Fauci said it’s important that parents are informed.
“You don’t want to in any manner or form have the parents feel like they’re doing something wrong by questioning,” he said. “I mean, it’s a perfectly normal thing to be concerned about your children and to question. And that’s the reason why you want to get them as much information as you possibly can and be very open and transparent about the information.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.