Many think that getting the Covid19 vaccine exempts them from wearing a face mask, but the truth is that even after getting a dose or two of it, one would still need to wear the face mask for preventive purposes while also still adhering to Covid19 safety protocols.
Elsie Ilori, head of department, surveillance and epidemiology at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said it is very important to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions even if you have been vaccinated.
Here are four reasons to still wear a face mask and observe social distancing despite getting the vaccine.
In case of double doses: You still stand a risk of contracting the virus after taking just a single dose. Hence, you still need to protect yourself and others. For vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, you would require two doses administered 21 days apart to be fully protected. Kevin Brady, a Republican member of the US house of representatives, tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before he was due to receive the second dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Also, in December 2020, Matthew W, a US nurse, tested positive after receiving the vaccine.
Vaccines need time to take effect: While the effectiveness of available vaccines, holds high hopes, a person is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after they have received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Following Matthew W’s positive result after taking the first dose, experts explained that the Pfizer vaccine requires time for the body to attain immunity against COVID-19. However, fully vaccinated people can hold gatherings among themselves without the use of face masks.
The vaccines do not offer 100% protection: The figures are high but the highest you can get so far is 95% effectiveness in protecting against the virus. With the 5% risk window and the no telling who may not respond to the vaccines, you are better advised to keep that face mask on.
One can still spread the virus: Even after getting vaccinated, you may spread the virus to others, especially if you are asymptomatic. You may even have contracted the virus before getting your shot. While the vaccines prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19, it is not yet established if they will keep you from spreading the virus to others.
So, the safest thing is to continue to act as if you never got the vaccine– until herd immunity is achieved.