BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Thom Mason has issued updated guidance for fully-vaccinated employees. In an email sent Tuesday, Mason said the national has reached a critical threshold in the fight against COVID-19.
“The availability of safe and effective vaccines has given us alternatives to wearing face masks and to the frequent COVID-19 testing we’ve been employing to facilitate workplace safety,” he said.
He noted the recently released CDC guidance which allows fully vaccinated individuals, once two weeks elapses since after their final vaccine dose, to resume normal life activities without having to wear a mask as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The state last Friday aligned with that recommendation.
“The Department of Energy has updated its mask wearing requirements consistent with CDC and the state of New Mexico to lift the requirements for masks at DOE/NNSA facilities for fully vaccinated individuals. Consistent with updated guidance the DOE is lifting the requirement for fully vaccinated employees to wear masks on site,” Mason said. “Vaccinated employees who are more comfortable wearing a mask are welcome to do so at their discretion. Those who are unvaccinated and those who have not provided copies of their vaccination cards to Occupational Medicine are required to continue to wear masks and must comply with the required COVID testing.”
At this time, this change related to mask wearing for fully-vaccinated employees is the only change in the Lab’s COVID guidance,” he said.
“There is no change to the policy of teleworking whenever job duties permit doing so. Employees who can do so are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccine inventories are increasing as are vaccination sites. If you’ve been vaccinated off-site, send a copy of your vaccine card to Occupational Medicine,” Mason said.
He said vaccination is the most powerful means to reduce COVID risk and thanked all Lab employees who have taken the step to protect themselves and those around them by getting vaccinated.
“For those employees who choose not to be vaccinated or cannot be vaccinated we will still have the protective measures of mask-wearing and COVID testing in place to protect our workforce, families and communities.,” Mason said.