Wisconsinites who are fully vaccinated can resume activities without masks, DHS says

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Friday, May 14, announced fully vaccinated people can resume activities they did before the pandemic, including participating in indoor and outdoor activities – large and small – without wearing a mask or physically distancing.

Fully vaccinated people can also refrain from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.

According to a news release from DHS, a person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if it has been two or more weeks since they got the second dose in a two-dose series (such as Pfizer or Moderna), or one dose of a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson). This updated guidance solidifies our confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and reflects the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing the spread of disease.

“This new guidance for fully vaccinated people is an exciting step forward,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake “The science is clear: if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic. For vaccinated people, this means returning to the Wisconsin way of life we all enjoy.”

With these guidance updates, there are important exceptions where everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated, should continue to wear a mask. Mask wearing should continue in health care settings, K-12 schools, correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, and public transportation as well as places where masks are required by local or tribal health laws, rules, and regulations, including local businesses and workplaces.

The updates from CDC show that our vaccines are working in the real world. Studies(link is external) have found them to be approximately 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, hospitalization, and death.

While we have a strong supply of vaccine in Wisconsin, DHS acknowledges that there are systemic and structural barriers that can make it harder for certain communities to get vaccinated. DHS, along with our local and tribal partners continue to actively work to address these disparities and minimize barriers to vaccine access. As part of our Vaccine Outreach grant program, over 100 partner organizations across Wisconsin are working as trusted messengers to build vaccine confidence, engage in targeted outreach, and reduce barriers that hinder vaccine access for marginalized or underserved Wisconsinites.

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