Do You Have To Wear a Mask After a COVID Vaccine?
A growing number of people in the world, particularly the United States, are receiving their COVID-19 vaccines. Whether they are getting the Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson shot, more and more people are getting vaccinated, getting us closer to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of them ask the question: Do you have to wear a mask after the COVID vaccine? Well, just because you get vaccinated doesn’t mean that you can throw caution to the wind according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).1
Reasons to Keep Wearing Masks After a Vaccine
Do you have to wear a mask after the COVID vaccine? Yes, those who get vaccinated should still take precautions by wearing a face mask and social distancing. They should also try to limit their contact with high-risk individuals, such as those with chronic medical conditions, outside of their immediate household. While getting your shot is a great way to prevent yourself from getting COVID-19, the dangers of the disease and pandemic still exist for others. We’ve listed out four of the top reasons you should still wear masks after the vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccines Are Still Being Studied
Studies have shown that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick, but researchers are still learning how they will affect the spread of COVID-19 in the long run. We still don’t know how long the protection will last or whether booster shots will be needed down the line. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said we might know whether booster shots are soon:
“What you do, […] is you take a look at the level of what we consider a correlate of immunity, be it an antibody. And when the slope starts coming down, you could predict when you're going to get below the safe level, or you could start seeing breakthrough infections. […] I believe by the time we get to the end of the summer and the beginning of the fall, we'll have a pretty good idea whether we definitely or not need to get people boosts and when we need to give it to them." 2
You’re Still Vulnerable After The First Dose
It takes some time from the first shot for you to be considered fully vaccinated. Vaccines like the ones from Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca require two doses taken two weeks from each other. While the first dose gives you partial immunity, there is still a significant enough chance of you getting COVID-19 if you stop wearing a face mask. For Johnson & Johnson, you aren’t considered fully vaccinated until two week after your shot.
Vaccines Do Not Provide 100% Protection
Even when you get your second dose and are fully vaccinated, you still don’t have 100% immunity from the coronavirus. The highest rate of effectiveness of any COVID-19 vaccines offer 95% with some brands offering less effective than that. These are still high rates of effectiveness for vaccines, but there’s still a reason to be cautious, at least until herd immunity is accomplished.
Not Enough People Have Been Vaccinated Yet
While a significant number of Americans have received one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, there are still millions of people in the country that still need to get vaccinated. That’s not even including people around the world, many of them living in countries that don’t have large amounts of the vaccine readily available yet. According to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), at least 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus in the United States.3 Otherworld experts are saying the percentage needs to be higher. Herd immunity won’t be achieved for a while, so until then, your best bet is to continue wearing face masks after the vaccine.
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Dos and Don’ts of Wearing a Face MaskThe Best Way to Protect Against the Coronavirus
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
- Olafimihan Oshin – Fauci: Public will know if third booster shot is needed by fall
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – COVID-19:The CIDRAP Viewpoint