Should Vaccinated Individuals Be Required To Wear A Mask?

As more and more individuals become vaccinated, many are stuck wondering when life will finally go back to normal. Since we are allegedly immune to the virus after being fully vaccinated, why should we have to wear the masks?  Some truly believe that the vaccine should be the end of the road, and we can ceremoniously toss our face masks into the garbage.  But before this “hallelujah” moment occurs, we might have to wear the masks in public for a little while longer.  

The COVID-19 vaccine is seen as the holy grail to some and the green light to go back to normal. However most experts agree that precautionary measures should be taken even after becoming vaccinated. Firstly, the vaccine doesn’t even kick in until two weeks after receiving the second dose. This applies to all the types of vaccines available. Until then it’s still navigating its way through the body trying to figure out what exactly to do. There is a partial immune response after receiving the vaccine, but it doesn’t begin to reach the 95% effectiveness rate until two weeks after the needle hits your arm. It is highly recommended to continue the same precautions practiced before receiving the vaccine within the span of these two weeks.  

Unfortunately, none of the vaccines produced have a solid, 100% effectiveness rate either. This is even more of a reason to mask up as the CDC is currently unaware of who exactly is part of this five percent. It is currently unknown which individuals won’t respond to the vaccine and are still at risk of catching COVID-19. And while five percent may seem like quite a small percentage, it’s actually a large number of people. To put it into perspective, there are currently an estimated 331,002,651 people in the United States. If everyone in the country got vaccinated, there would be approximately 16,550,133 people unresponsive to the vaccine and still prone to the virus. Thus, it is essential that we keep taking precautionary measures and keep our masks on. 

Finally, even if you are vaccinated, there is still a possibility of being an asymptomatic spreader. Experts at the CDC warn that vaccinated individuals could possibly still catch the disease but not show symptoms. If this occurs, there is a greater likelihood that the virus could continue circulating. The good news, however, is that if vaccinated citizens continue to wear masks in public, it greatly reduces the risk of the virus spreading. But if we still have to take the same precautions, then what is the point of getting vaccinated?

Thankfully there are numerous benefits to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. On the CDC website it states, “After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you may be able to start doing some things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic.  For example, you can gather indoors without masks with other people who are fully vaccinated.”  Most people are already doing this, but for those who were unsure, it is now approved by the CDC. The vaccine also allows our bodies immune system to create a response to the disease without actually getting sick. This allows the body to be prepared in case of contact with the live disease. Masks greatly reduce the risk of the live disease infecting our bodies in the first place, which is all the more reason to keep them on.

To conclude, my personal recommendation as well as the CDC’s recommendation is to mask up even if you’re vaccinated. There are so many unknown answers about the COVID-19 vaccines and their ability to prevent the spread of the virus. And while it may be a pain to continuously keep masks on at work, sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice our comfort for somebody’s life. Hopefully in the near future, more information will be provided about the effectiveness of the vaccine, but there is still a vast amount of research to be done. So until then, continue to take precautions to ensure that you and the others around you are safe and protected.

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