Dr. Osterholm on Relaxed Mask Guidance: ‘How Will We Know If Someone Has Been Vaccinated?’

‘The next question is going to be, how will we know if someone has been vaccinated?’


OSTERHOLM: “Well, first of all, it’s incredibly good news. And it’s news that we’re not surprised by from a science standpoint. We now have six studies which actually show that once you’re vaccinated, the likelihood of getting re-infected, and more importantly, then serving as the person who might transmit to others is very, very low. So this was based on good science and I think we’re moving forward. I think the challenge we have is the next step. The next step is we still have 42% of the U.S. adults have not been vaccinated, 64% have only had one dose of the two doses they need. And the challenge is going to be now, we’re worried that everybody is going to say, 'I’ve been vaccinated,' and everyone will drop their masking. So the next question is going to be, how will we know if people are vaccinated? If you’re sitting close to someone at a restaurant or next to them in a theater, how are you going to know that they’re not just kind of fibbing a little bit here about whether they’re vaccinated or not? And I think that’s going to be the really next big question, is do we do these immune passports? You know, I gave up my eyeballs and my fingerprints to clear so I could get on and off an airplane sooner. Will people do that, so that you can feel confident that the person you’re sitting next to without a mask is, in fact, vaccinated.”

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