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Why You Should Still Wear A Mask And Avoid Crowds After Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine

Nothing good ever comes easy.

Health officials in the USA say that even after you get vaccinated against COVID-19, you still need to practice the usual pandemic precautions, at least for a while.

That means steering clear of crowds, continuing to wear a good mask in public, maintaining 6 feet or more of distance from people outside your household and frequently washing your hands.

NPR talked to infectious disease specialists to get a better understanding of why.

Why do I have to continue with precautions after I’ve been vaccinated?

Because It will take some time for a vaccine’s effectiveness to build up. With the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in December found that protection doesn’t start until 12 days after the first shot and that it reaches 52% effectiveness a few weeks later.

Can I spread the virus to others even if I’m fully vaccinated?

This is an important question, but scientists studying the shots’ effectiveness don’t have an answer yet. And for public health experts, that lack of knowledge means you should act like the answer is yes.

In the words of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.”

So what’s the bottom line?

With cases and deaths surging throughout the U.S., the people who are treating COVID-19 patients really want you to continue to wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands, even if you’ve been vaccinated, until the research on shedding has yielded some answers. Dr. Carlos del Rio of Emory University says he knows taking precautions can be taxing, but he urges us all to hang on and keep it up.

“It’s not like you’ll need to wear a mask for the rest of your life,” he says. “You need to wear your mask until we have the data, and we’re trying to get the answers as fast as we can.”

Read the full article at: NPR.org.

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