With more infectious variants such as Delta, do vaccinated people need to wear masks?

Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Evidence from real-world studies shows that fully vaccinated people in the United States still have strong protection against COVID-19 and current variants. However, vaccinated people may still choose to wear a mask. As of May 2021, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say that fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks in most indoor or outdoor settings. Due to the rise of more infectious variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, such as the delta variant, the World Health Organization recommended in June 2021 that vaccinated individuals wear masks. However, CDC has not changed its guidance. WHO’s recommendations are applied in a global context, where many countries have vaccination rates lower than in the U.S. and/or may not have access to vaccines that are as effective. In many countries, the unvaccinated population outnumbers the vaccinated population and they are seeing a surge of the delta variant in unvaccinated people. The CDC and others continue to study the effectiveness of vaccines against emerging variants and UW–Madison will continue to monitor public health guidance. Vaccination rates are high on campus and in Dane County. Communities or populations with lower vaccination rates may choose to enact new mask measures to better protect unvaccinated people and limit spread of COVID-19.