Throughout the past year, a growing amount of research has proven that masks are effective. When properly worn by everyone in a public area, masks provide protection against COVID-19, as well as the common cold and the flu. Combine masks with social distancing and hand washing and you give yourself the best chance at avoiding COVID-19.
If you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccine, you may be wondering if you can stop wearing your mask, but don’t toss that mask in the trash bin just yet.
Keep Wearing It
The bottom line is that even after you receive your COVID-19 vaccines, you need to continue wearing a mask—for now. Experts encourage you to continue wearing a mask, even after your second vaccination injection, for additional protection when in public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says if you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after your second dose of a 2-series vaccine or two weeks after a single-series vaccine) you are able to get together indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. You can also gather with relatives who live together without masks if no one is at a higher risk for severe illness resulting from COVID019.
Why You Need to Continue Wearing a Mask
Prior to becoming vaccinated, there were a number of reasons to wear a mask. When you previously wore a mask, it wasn’t only to keep yourself healthy. It was to avoid making other people sick. You were being kind to others.
The same is true today. While vaccination protects you against COVID-19, everyone hasn’t had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Because of this, many people aren’t yet immune to the virus.
As exciting as the COVID-19 vaccine is, researchers are unclear how it will function in the real world. Yes, it protects you from COVID-19’s effects. That’s clear. It may not, however, stop you from carrying the virus and shedding it to others. To ensure you don’t accidentally spread COVID-19, continue to keep your mask up.
Other Good Practices
Want to take good care of your neighbor? In addition to keeping your mask on, continue with pandemic protocol. This means doing the following:
- Keep at least 6 feet between you and others
- Wash your hands regularly
- Stay away from crowds and unventilated areas
As limiting as these steps are, take heart. As the vaccine is made available to more people, your mask will soon be a thing of the past.