In many parts of the U.S., vaccinated individuals get to enjoy going out and about without the weight of wearing a mask over their faces. Because vaccines have been proven to boost immunity against COVID-19, governments have no longer required masks as an extra layer of protection, provided that individuals are fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine.
But there has been a new COVID-19 surge leading up to winter, with cases rapidly rising again after a steep decline in October. Contrary to initial expectations that the pandemic is nearing its end, we are faced with yet another surge, not to mention a new variant of concern.
While there are many culprits behind COVID-19 cases rising again, experts attribute it to the false sense of security that the pandemic is over — despite us falling well behind our goals of achieving herd immunity.
The World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, urges individuals to continue practicing COVID-19 mitigation efforts, even if they are already fully vaccinated against the virus.
Mask-Wearing Should Be Returned, Regardless of Vaccination Status
According to the WHO Director-General, vaccinated individuals still need to wear masks because they can still be carriers of the virus. Although being vaccinated protects an individual from getting severe COVID-19 and fatality, they still have the ability to spread the disease to others — vaccinated or not.
There is a misconception that vaccines deter infection, but it’s more about building our body’s defense against COVID-19 than completely preventing it. Vaccines supply our bodies with defensive white blood cells that are engineered to recognize and fight the virus. But it can still enter our bodies and be spread to people we are in close contact with.
COVID-19 Precautions for Vaccinated Individuals
Despite being vaccinated, we can still contribute to either spreading or stopping COVID-19, depending on how we behave from here on out. The WHO highly advises that vaccinated individuals continue to take precautions to protect themselves and others. These include:
- Wearing a well-fitting mask
- Maintaining distance
- Avoiding crowded spaces
- Sanitizing and hand-washing
Everyone has a role to play in our fight against COVID-19 — regardless of vaccination status.