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UF Health Jax Official Does Not Recommend Local Vaccinated People Wear Masks

UF Health Jacksonville Hospital
UF Health Jacksonville
UF Health Jacksonville
UF Health Jacksonville Hospital

A UF Health Jacksonville official does not recommend fully vaccinated people in North Florida wear masks.

Chad Nielsen, Director of Accreditation and Infection Prevention for UF Health Jacksonville, said local residents should follow Center for Disease Control guidelines, which do not recommend vaccinated people mask up.

That contradicts the World Health Organization’s Friday recommendation that people continue to wear masks even if they are vaccinated. 

Nielsen said the WHO’s recommendations are different from the CDC’s recommendations because the WHO provides guidance to countries around the globe.

“Their message is felt by countries with very high vaccination rates, like many in Europe, as well as countries with low vaccination rates, such as those in Indonesia, India, Southeast Asia,” Nielsen said.

Almost 47% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while about 23% of the world’s population has received at least one dose. About 46% of Florida residents are fully vaccinated.

The WHO’s decision was sparked by the spread of the Delta variant, a strain of COVID-19 that spreads easier, has harsher symptoms and is more lethal, Nielsen said. UF Health Jacksonville  has also seen its COVID-19 related hospitalizations double over the past two weeks to 35 patients.

“If people feel more comfortable in a mask, then we encourage them to do so,” Nielsen said.

However, he said it would take further case growth and COVID-19 clustering to cause local health officials to change their guidelines.

Tristan Wood can be reached at or on Twitter at @TristanDWood.

Tristan is WJCT’s 2021 Summer Reporting Intern. He has previously worked as the City and County Commission reporter for the Independent Florida Alligator, Gainesville’s student-run newspaper, and Fresh Take Florida, a news service working in partnership with the Associated Press to cover the Florida Legislature and select political news stories across the state.