Fauci Says Vaccinated Families Don't Need To Mask Up For Holiday Gatherings

by Julie Scagell
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Fauci cites the recent booster availability and kids 5 and above getting vaccinated

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, Dr. Anthony Fauci, talked about the holidays on CNN this weekend and said that families who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can leave their masks at home this year.

Fauci said it’s “absolutely” safe to celebrate the holidays sans masks providing your crew is vaccinated, telling CNN’s Dana Bash: “That’s what I’m going to do with my family.” However, if you’re traveling to see family or don’t know if everyone at the gathering is fully vaccinated, proceed with caution as you would in any other situation.

“Get tested if you need to get tested when you’re getting together, but that’s not a substitute for getting vaccinated. Get yourself vaccinated and you can continue to enjoy interactions with your family and others.”

Fauci noted during this State of the Union interview that kids ages five to 11 years are now able to be vaccinated and should have the option to be “fully vaccinated by the time we get to the Christmas holidays.” Adding to that good news is the CDC opening up booster shots for all adults.

“CDC continues to encourage the 47 million adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families, loved ones and communities,” the organization said. “We also strongly encourage those who were already eligible ­– older populations and individuals with underlying medical conditions ­– to get boosted before the holidays.”

Fauci also urged those who are not vaccinated to do so given the death rates of those who are unprotected. “More than a thousand people dying every day — the vast majority of them unvaccinated,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said during the broadcast. “Those are preventable deaths, probably at least 100,000 of the deaths that have happened this year didn’t need to.”

Fauci made it clear what he means by fully vaccinated. “Two shots for a time frame means you are fully vaccinated, but the thing you want to get the people and the viewers to understand, it isn’t the effectiveness of the vaccine — it’s quite effective — it’s how long it lasts,” he said. “We’re going to take a look right now at what the durability is of the booster. We’re going to follow people who get boosted. It will be guided by the science.”

The answer this year is simple according to Fauci: “Get vaccinated, and you can enjoy the holidays very easily. And if you’re not, please be careful.”