Doctor: Change in CDC face mask policy was abrupt and caused confusion

Dr. Hoa Nguyen, head of the governor's Physician's Advisory Group as well as a family practice doctor at American Medical Center. (PNC file photo)

Nationally there’s been debate and confusion surrounding the CDC’s most recent guidance on masks.

Physicians Advisory Group chairman Dr. Hoa Nguyen spoke with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo about the effects of the CDC’s guidance on Guam.

Dr. Nguyen said that the Physicians’ Advisory Group advised the governor to keep the mask mandate in place for the time being.

He said they’d take another look at removing the mandate in the weeks to come.

Although the CDC said that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without a mask or social distancing, it also gave plenty of leeway for local governments and private organizations to maintain their own rules on the matter.

Dr. Nguyen said that he found the CDC’s change of guidance to be abrupt.

“The CDC came out with their guidelines very abruptly. And it creates a lot of confusion. I think there’s a lot of people that are still kind of uncomfortable to say no masks…even for fully vaccinated personnel,” Dr. Nguyen said.

Last week, the governor told Newstalk K57 that she won’t consider lifting the mask mandate on Guam until 80% of the island’s adult population is vaccinated.

That’s the number that’s been given for the island to achieve herd immunity.

Dr. Nguyen said that there has been a strong turnout for vaccinations and the island’s youth seems especially enthusiastic.

“I really, really highly encourage parents to do that. The 12 to 15 efficacy is 100%. You can’t beat it. And I think the key here is the children. I know parents will say ‘My children won’t be that sick’ and they still can contract the virus and they still can bring it home,” Dr. Nguyen said.

He added: “COVID…after they recover…they still can have complications long-term for children also. So I would say get your children vaccinated.”

Dr. Nguyen said that it’s especially important to promote vaccinations in the face of misinformation on the internet.

“There are a lot of misconceptions out there. A lot of misconceptions that people don’t understand. I think that if you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, please call your provider and talk to them. And clear out those misconceptions so you can make a better decision to get your children vaccinated,” Dr. Nguyen said.