Immunocompromised activist worries lifting CA's mask mandate will put their community at risk

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Some worry CA's mask mandate will put immunocompromised at risk
The immunocompromised community is concerned with CDC's new mask mandate it will be hard to tell who is fully vaccinated, putting them at risk.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On June 15 California's mask mandate expires and we will begin to implement the CDC's guidelines. The immunocompromised community is concerned there won't be a way to know who is fully vaccinated and who isn't, putting them at risk.

"I see it as, OK, I would've had a month and a half since my vaccination to buy my own groceries and then it's back home being terrified," said disabled activist Charis Hill.

RELATED: When you still have to wear a mask, what will change on June 15

May 1 is the date Hill became fully vaccinated.

"I'm immunosuppressed and my population of people are advised that we continue wearing masks," said Hill.

Stanford's Infectious Disease Dr. Anne Liu says there is no way to know how much the vaccine protects those with immunocompromised systems. In some cases, it doesn't.

"They may not form much of a memory response after getting the vaccine. As a result when they are exposed to the virus then they may not have the same type of protection that people with normal immune systems have," said Dr. Liu.

VIDEO: Experts say it could be months before people are comfortable without face masks

Data shows that it takes 21 days to build a habit. In California, we've been wearing face masks since June 2020. So, now after almost a year of this habit how long will it take it to break it?

But as the state moves into reopening in four weeks Bay Area counties are not waiting and making their own changes now. Santa Clara announcing a new order.

"It requires employers to determine the vaccination status of their employees. Two. it defines safety rules for employees who remain unvaccinated and three, it continues to require that workplaces and schools report to us when they have a COVID case," said Santa Clara County Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody.

After June 15 counties will be allowed to modify the state's mask mandate. On Tuesday, Santa Clara County said they are keeping track of the vaccination numbers to make any changes.

RELATED: What the new CDC mask guidance means for dining out

"Look at the state policies and then decide whether we need any adjustments based on local conditions," said Dr. Cody.

What gives immunocompromised California residents like Hill hope is seeing vaccination numbers rise. So far, 50% of the state has received at least one dose of the vaccine but for now, wearing a mask is the difference between life and death even after being vaccinated.

"Our patients are really at the mercy of the rest of us to get vaccinated," said Dr. Liu.

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