Family Health

Can I Stop Wearing a Mask After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Black woman wearing a mask

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.

Still need your vaccine? Find out when you’re able to receive one and where to go for your vaccination.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.