I’m Vaccinated – Why Do I Still Need to Wear a Mask?
If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you may be wondering why you still need to take precautions like wearing a mask. Maybe you’re wondering if things will ever get back to normal.
“I encourage people to focus on what they most want in a post-pandemic world, and set goals to get there,” said Avera Chief Medical Officer Kevin Post, DO. Such goals may include travel, gathering with friends, or giving your grandma or grandchildren a hug.
“Those goals can be the reasons we all need to stay true to the CDC’s guidelines, which are loosening, but have not disappeared.”
So far, Post said Midwestern states Avera serves are doing well in terms of vaccination. “It’s a key part of this puzzle and one of the tools to help us achieve the goals we all have,” he said.
Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated People
You are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after your second shot for two-shot vaccines and two weeks after single-shot vaccines. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shifted for people who are fully vaccinated:
- You can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without masks or distance.
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless someone is at higher risk
If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel, or self-quarantine when you get home.
Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you should keep taking precautions — like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces — in public places until we know more.
Why? Some things are still unknown:
- How effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
- How well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
- How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
“We have some very positive things to look forward to as more and more people are vaccinated. But we still need to be responsible for safety – of ourselves and others,” Post said.
Slow Steps Toward Herd Immunity
Post said he thanks every person he meets who has stepped up, scheduled and received their vaccination.
Getting vaccinated now is a positive step toward a better future and building herd immunity. It helps protect the people you love and against mutated strains of the virus becoming common place.
“We’re seeing the signs of another wave in many states, and we need to keep our guard up, keep vaccinating people and keep doing the right things we know can help,” said Post. “That means, yes, you need to keep wearing your mask, continue the diligent effort that has helped slow the spread so far. Remember that you’re not doing these things for ‘just’ you – it’s for all of us.”
Learn more about available vaccination locations near you.