COVID vaccine hesitancy remains, mask opinions vary

With COVID-19 vaccination rates plateauing, Wisconsin health officials say the CDC's more relaxed mask guidelines should serve as an incentive to get the shot.

But the changes to mask policies haven't changed many people's minds.

Nearly a week after the CDC's unexpected announcement that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in most settings, health officials remind unvaccinated people that they are still at risk if they take their masks off.

Local leaders hope the message motivated more people to get the vaccine so they, too, can go maskless.

Milwaukee resident Rahshenia Patrick said she prefers to rely on her mask – not the vaccine.

"I think there needs to be a little bit more research done before it’s a definite yes just for me," said Patrick. "It’s actually become my daily norm. I won’t say that it’s comfortable, but I am OK wearing a mask to protect myself."

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Instead, Patrick worries about relying on others to do the same.

"That’s my concern, and that’s the reason I will continue to wear my mask and also my children," Patrick said.

Many businesses and municipalities are ditching their mask requirements, now counting on unvaccinated people to abide by the honor system.

"I just feel it’s a free will decision that I don’t think it should be a must-do," Cedarburg resident Kathy Schurrer said.

 

Schurrer can't get the vaccine because of medication and allergies, and said she wouldn't want to anyway. Rather than continue to mask up, she said she is rejoicing as restrictions relax.

"I’m not going to be masked," Schurrer said. "If I get COVID, I get COVID." 

The CDC said the updated mask recommendations come amid new data that shows the vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection and transmission of COVID-19.

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