The country’s largest union of registered nurses on Saturday condemned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for lifting recommendations for masks for those vaccinated and called on the agency to “do the right thing” and revise its guidelines.
Bonnie Castillo, registered nurse and executive director of the National Nurses United, said the most recent guidelines, released Thursday and rescinding recommendations for masks and other precautions for those who are fully vaccinated, “are not based on science . Ms. Castillo said the new guidelines would put the health of frontline workers and the general public at risk and disproportionately harm people of color.
“This is a huge blow to our efforts to deal with this virus and the pandemic,” said Castillo, whose union represents 170,000 nurses across the country. Although vaccination is vitally important in stopping the spread of the virus, she noted that millions of Americans still had not been vaccinated.
“The mask is another vital layer of protection for workers,” she says.
The union also criticized the CDC for other actions, including its decision to stop monitoring rupture infections in vaccinated people and to investigate such cases only if they result in hospitalization or death. the announced agency that as of May 1, it would no longer monitor or investigate all infections among vaccinated people in order to “maximize the quality of data collected on the most clinically important and public health cases”.
Nurses said this meant the CDC would not collect the data needed to understand whether vaccines prevent mild and asymptomatic infections, how long vaccine protection lasts, and what role variants play in disrupting infections.
The union also asked the agency, which recently recognized that the virus can be transmitted by aerosolized particles, to update its ventilation and respiratory protection guidelines accordingly. The union also called on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to immediately issue temporary emergency infectious disease standards to protect people in the workplace.
The CDC did not immediately respond to criticism. Introducing the new recommendations Thursday, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, CDC director, cited two recent scientific findings as significant factors: few vaccinated people are infected with the virus and transmission appears even rarer; and the vaccines appear to be effective against all known variants of the coronavirus.
The union noted that more than 35,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported every day and more than 600 people died every day. “Now is not the time to relax protective measures, and we are outraged that the CDC has done just that while we are still in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in a century,” Ms. Castillo said.