White House senior Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt defended the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to revise its mask guidance for vaccinated individuals, saying the change was based in science and not influenced by politics.
Responding to criticism that the guidance change appeared sudden, Slavitt said the CDC is tasked with changing guidance once the science dictates that — which is what happened this week.
“The CDC guidance is gonna be what it is until it changes. There’s no in-between guidance. We didn’t find out at the White House until 9pm the night before that the CDC was going to make this change yesterday. If they wanted to do this politically conveniently, wouldn’t you have done this before the hearing so she (CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky) didn’t have to take the tough questions rather than after,” Slavitt said in an interview on Fox News on Friday.
“But their job isn’t to be popular. They try to follow the science. Our job at the White House is just to let them follow the science and take what comes and try to explain it as best we can to the American public,” Slavitt added.
He said the drop in Covid-19 cases, the evidence showing vaccines prevent the spread of coronavirus, and the fact that all Americans older than 12 are eligible for the vaccine allowed the CDC to feel comfortable making the change.
Slavitt said the CDC will continue to update guidance for businesses, travel, summer camps and more, but it wanted to put out its conclusion that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks in most cases.
“They will update all of their guidance, but they wanted to put the conclusion out there, recognizing that they’re going to have to update the rest of the guidance, but they felt it was fair to the American public to say, hey if you’ve been vaccinated you don’t need to wear a mask,” he said.