A third senior administration official predicted that the guidelines would be published “soon”. A fourth said key guidelines on Covid-19 are often the subject of “rigorous deliberation” in the last few days before they are released.
“The CDC guidelines won’t be released tomorrow because we haven’t finalized them here at the CDC. Once it is final, we will publish it and distribute it, ”said Jason McDonald, a spokesperson for the agency.
There is no evidence to suggest the White House Biden is attempting to remove the CDC guidelines or overturn the judgment of CDC scientists.
But officials in the country’s health agencies are at their wit’s end after years of repeated political interference by the Trump administration, which has notoriously excluded the CDC from critical political conversations about Covid-19. And Trump’s appointees at HHS have routinely interfered with the agency’s weekly morbidity and mortality reports, as POLITICO first revealed.
The CDC’s guidelines for those vaccinated, as described to POLITICO earlier this week, were meant to indicate that those who had received a full course of the vaccine could socialize with other vaccinated people in small groups at home without a mask. But the guidelines said that vaccinated people should continue to adhere to guidelines for masking and social distancing in public. The guidelines were also established to include various scenarios to consider for those vaccinated, including travel.
As vaccinations increase, Americans are eager to start getting back to normal. And while CDC director Rochelle Walensky has repeatedly said the country must continue to remain vigilant, the draft opinion will offer Americans a silver lining – that the United States is moving in the right direction. .
The guidelines were originally designed when the United States had only two vaccines available, from Moderna and Pfizer, one of the senior administration officials said. The FDA recently cleared the use of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the administration is sending millions of doses to states across the country. But even though Moderna and Pfizer injections are given in two doses and J&J in one, it takes about 14 days after each’s last dose for immunity to develop.
The CDC guidelines were due out at a time when the White House and Biden’s Covid-19 task force are trying to push back the governors of Texas and Mississippi who have canceled mask warrants and are completely reopening their economies. Since these announcements on Tuesday, several White House officials, including the president himself, have denounced the decision. In a press bout on Wednesday, Biden said the decision to relax public health measures reflected “Neanderthal thinking.”
Adam Cancryn contributed to this report.