For many people around the world, the COVID-19 vaccine is a very promising light illuminating the end of the dark tunnel that was 2020. With the recent authorization of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, health organizations have started to administer them to the first phase of people. After getting both doses of the vaccine, the mask wearing doesn’t stop. Health experts advise that social distancing and mask wearing are still integral for everyone’s safety.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mask guidelines and social distancing rules will remain in place. Getting vaccinated does not make you immune to the virus, especially when the majority of people around the world have yet to be vaccinated. When most people receive the vaccine worldwide, only then will health officials issue new guidelines. The reason for this is because experts don’t understand how the vaccine will look in the long run.
Full Protection Right Away Is Not Guaranteed
It’s easy to get the vaccine and immediately think, “I’m finally safe and everything can go back to the way it was.” According to infectious disease specialists, this is an inaccurate way of thinking about the vaccine, especially between the first and second doses. Depending on which vaccine you receive, the waiting period between doses is 21-28 days. During the period between the first and second shot, it’s still possible to contract COVID-19. Health experts estimate that the vaccine is only 52% effective after the first shot. This is because it can take up to 10-14 days to start developing antibodies. After the second shot, however, that percentage increases to 95%.
Once you receive the second shot, the body requires time to enhance its armor that it needs to fight the virus. This can take up to two weeks after receiving the second shot. You should be extra cautious after receiving the second dose for your own safety, and the safety of those around you.
It’s Possible To Spread COVID-19, Even After Getting The Vaccine
There are so many unknown factors surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, and this is one of them. There is not currently enough evidence to know whether or not people can carry coronavirus pathogens and pass them on to others, without being infected themselves. If a vaccinated person comes in contact with the virus, the vaccine will aid the body in fighting the virus. The data is lacking on whether or not the person can then transmit the vaccine to other, non-vaccinated people. More research is necessary to determine if vaccinated people could be potential asymptomatic carriers. Health experts hope that this data becomes available once they learn more about the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This is why wearing a mask is still of the utmost importance. Most Americans will not get the opportunity to receive the vaccine until May 2021. Priority groups like the elderly, healthcare workers, first responders, and people with existing conditions will receive vaccine access first. If you are around a vaccinated person, you should wear a mask for the reasons listed in the above paragraph. You don’t want to catch the virus unknowingly and experience an adverse effects. Additionally, a vaccinated person should wear a mask to protect those who haven’t received the vaccine.
At the end of the day, there are many unknown factors about how these vaccines will play out in the long run. For the time being, continue to practice social distancing and wear masks when out in public spaces. Be safe, be well, and stay as healthy as possible.