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Biden urges all Americans to "go get the shot" as CDC relaxes mask guidance

CDC issues new mask guidance for vaccinated Americans
CDC issues new mask guidance for vaccinated Americans 02:49

Washington — President Biden urged all Americans to "go get the shot" on Tuesday, citing new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that said individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume some outdoor activities without wearing masks. All U.S. residents 16 and older are now eligible for the vaccine, and the president has set July 4 as a target date for resuming some version of life as normal.

"While we still have a long way to go in this fight, and a lot of work to do in May and June to get us to July 4th, we've made stunning progress, because of all of you, the American people," Mr. Biden said outside the White House.

The president said vaccinations are saving "thousands of lives," particularly the lives of older Americans who are more vulnerable to the virus. Nearly 230 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered, and nearly 54% of the U.S. adult population have received at least one of their shots, according to the CDC.

President Biden delivers remarks on the COVID-19 response outside the White House on April 27, 2021. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

With vaccination rates continuing to rise, the health agency unveiled interim public health recommendations on activities those who have received their shots can engage in, including on outdoor mask-wearing. Fully vaccinated people don't need to wear masks outside unless they're in crowds, which could have large numbers of unvaccinated people. 

Mr. Biden said the scientists are convinced by the data that the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 is "very, very low" if a person is vaccinated, particularly if they're outdoors. 

"The bottom line is clear: If you're vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors," the president said. "So for those who haven't gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you're younger or thinking you don't need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated — now. Now!" 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said earlier Tuesday that the updated guidelines mark "another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before."

Under the new recommendations, fully vaccinated individuals can gather outdoors in small groups with unvaccinated individuals without wearing masks. Vaccinated people can also safely walk, run or bike outdoors without wearing masks if they are alone or with members of their household. 

The president's remarks come ahead of his 100th day in office this week. Over the course of the opening months of his presidency, Mr. Biden has sought to speed up the pace of vaccinations, but has urged Americans to continue following public health guidelines such as mask-wearing to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Biden urges Americans to get vaccinated as CDC relaxes mask guidance 09:00

The nation last week hit 200 million vaccine doses administered ahead of Mr. Biden's 100th day in office, reaching a milestone set by the president last month. The Biden administration is also planning to share up to 60 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from AstraZeneca with other countries. Roughly 10 million doses of AstraZeneca's shot made in the U.S. could be shipped within the "coming weeks," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are currently being administered in the U.S. 

Whether the U.S. will send much-needed vaccines to India, which is experiencing a devastating outbreak, remains unclear. Mr. Biden told reporters Tuesday he has spoken with India's prime minister, and they are discussing when the U.S. might be able to send vaccine doses. But the president did not discuss any commitment or time table.

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