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Masks optional: Houstonians explain why they still wear masks even though they're vaccinated

Even though mask requirements may be behind us, you’ll likely still see people wearing masks for a while longer.

HOUSTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said COVID-19 vaccines are so effective, masks are no longer necessary after you’ve had it.

Despite many businesses saying masks are now optional, several people in the Heights and Midtown explained why they choose to continue masking up.

“I’m fully vaccinated. I don’t know who is and who isn’t so I’m wearing my mask,” said Marie Alexander outside a Starbucks in Midtown.

“Because I have a little child – a boy and a girl – I feel better. I feel secure with it,” Lisa Juarez said.

Safety was the most common answer, but masking has also become socially accepted, so taking them off feels weird for some people.

Dr. Peter Hotez, with the Baylor College of Medicine, is a national expert on COVID-19 and vaccines. He opened up about his mask preferences since the CDC’s latest guidance for fully vaccinated people.

“I’m fully vaccinated. I’m comfortable not wearing a mask outside. If I take a walk with my wife, I’m not wearing a mask. But interestingly, when I’m in the Texas Medical Center where I work, everybody has masks on, so culturally, to be part of that, I still wear a mask outside even though I don’t have to,” he said.

Hotez is still wearing his mask indoors, too. He feels until vaccination numbers are high enough, transmission won’t be low enough to lose the mask altogether.

“You need two things going on. One, you need to be vaccinated. Two, all the adults and adolescents around you need to be vaccinated. That’s what’s happening in the northeast but it’s not what’s happening in Texas and in the southern parts of the United States,” he said.

He is concerned about another summer surge in cases, because of low vaccination rates.

Even though mask requirements may be behind us, you’ll likely still see people wearing masks for a while longer.

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