To Wear or Not to Wear a Mask Post COVID-19 Vaccine
As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, people are hoping to soon return to normalcy.
BayCare medical experts say there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, but you need to continue to be vigilant and not let your guards down even if you’re vaccinated.
The COVID-19 vaccine is intended to prevent people from getting seriously ill even if they get infected and help slow the spread of virus. However, it will take time before herd immunity is achieved.
That’s why it’s important to continue to follow safety precautions in various instances, including wearing a mask.
Why You Should Wear a Mask
While the vaccines are becoming more accessible, it will take time before most people get vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 10 percent of the population in the United States is vaccinated so far. This means, more than 90 percent of the population still remains unvaccinated and at potential risk of getting infected with COVID-19.
The scientific community also is continuing to learn how the COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world circumstances, and how the virus spreads in communities. It’s also unknown whether the COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus even if you’re asymptomatic.
In addition, even if you’re vaccinated you can still carry the virus in the nose or mouth and infect others who aren’t vaccinated.
When to Wear a Mask
The new guidelines from CDC (updated March 8, 2021) provide details on safety guidelines for fully vaccinated people, which occurs two weeks following the last dose of the two-dose series for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and two weeks following the one dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
Fully vaccinated people should follow safety precautions in public spaces including wearing a mask, practice social distancing, frequently wash hands, and avoiding crowded spaces, especially with poor ventilation.
It also important to practice safety measures when visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households and unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
When Masks Aren’t Required
Fully vaccinated people are able to:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
- If asymptomatic, abstain from quarantining and testing following a known exposure.
For information on COVID-19 including vaccines, visit BayCare.org/Coronavirus.