The COVID-19 vaccine is here providing a light at the end of the tunnel for our community, but life as you know it will not change much for the foreseeable future and masks will continue to be a part of your daily wardrobe. CMC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to help you understand why social distancing and masking continue to be required defenses to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
Why do we even need a vaccine if we are still going to have to wear masks and stay socially distant from others?
To stop the pandemic, we have to use all the tools we have available to us. The vaccine helps your body and immune system fight against the virus if you get it. Masking and social distancing can prevent you from getting the virus. But should you still come in contact with COVID-19 after vaccinating, we believe those additional precautions could keep you from spreading the virus while your body is fighting it off.
Do I need to wear a mask and practice social distancing if I received both doses of the vaccine?
Yes. The two doses of vaccine help train your body to combat COVID-19 if you are exposed but it’s highly possible that you can still transmit the virus. You may not get sick from the virus but you can still be contagious.
As more people are vaccinated, experts will learn more about the protections the vaccine provides in regards to transmission. In the meantime, it’s best that we follow the CDC’s guidelines of masking and staying at least six feet from people to protect yourself and others while slowing the spread of the disease.
After I get vaccinated when can I stop all these other precautions?
That could be a while. The vaccine may be our most important weapon in fighting this pandemic but don’t give up on masking and keeping your distance from others right away. There is not enough information on the impact of the vaccine and how it may or may not prevent the transmission of the disease.
The CDC and other world health organizations will continue to monitor COVID-19 vaccine data. They need to better understand the protections it provides before making any new recommendations on masking and close contact with others. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.