Position Statement: Mask Guidance Leaves Some Workers Vulnerable to Infection
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their mask guidance to allow fully vaccinated individuals to resume most indoor and outdoor activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, even if some in the group are unvaccinated. Migrant Clinicians Network is greatly concerned that such guidance will increase risk of COVID-19 exposure in groups who are more vulnerable to the virus. MCN believes that the strongest measures in place are required to protect the most vulnerable, and this step backward will affect immunocompromised individuals and children who are unable to be vaccinated, as well as migrant and immigrant workers and their families who have limited access to vaccines and little control over their workplace environments.
The COVID-19 vaccines have made significant and rapid progress in slowing the COVID-19 pandemic. However, issues of access to the vaccine and to quality information about the vaccine remain. Many workers on the frontlines – including food and farm workers – are often exploited on the job and have no recourse to ensure a healthy workplace. This mask guidance further endangers their health.
While the CDC guidelines are appropriate for smaller private settings, the workplace requires more stringent mask wearing and distancing guidelines to ensure safety of all workers and their families.
MCN encourages workplaces where workers are in close proximity and exerting themselves to continue to mandate mask wearing and physical distancing guidelines to protect the health of the most vulnerable among us.
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