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Vaccinated People & the Need for Masks

People should continue wearing a mask even after getting vaccinated, as the vaccine may not ensure 100% protection.

  • 05 Feb 2021
  • min read

India started one of the most extensive vaccination drives in the world on January 16, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world towards the end of 2019. People from all walks of life were affected by the disease, and medical experts worldwide worked relentlessly to discover a vaccine to curb the virus. While Pfizer and Moderna introduced new corona vaccines, India, too, was ahead in the race with its Bharat Biotech International Limited's Covaxin.

On January 16, 2021, India conducted one of the world's largest vaccination drives with Covaxin and Oxford University-AstraZeneca's Covishield. Our fight against the virus continues, and India's corona vaccine is undoubtedly a ray of hope in this battle.

To many of us, India's COVID vaccine may seem like returning to the old, everyday life without masks. But is this true? Does COVID vaccine translate to a mask-free life? The answer is no. Medical experts have stated that vaccinated people will still need to wear a mask.

Here's why.

The vaccine doesn't show instant effect.

The corona vaccine has two doses. Don't expect to get immediate immunity from the disease right after the first shot of corona vaccine. The first shot itself will need two weeks for the body to develop antibodies to fight the virus. The second dose of corona vaccine, India (Covishield), is administered only after four weeks of the first dose. This means that your body will need a couple of weeks to develop immunity to the virus.

There's no 100% protection from coronavirus.

The corona vaccine has been a breakthrough in fighting the pandemic. However, the clinical trials of the vaccine have been conducted in a controlled environment. Vaccine efficacy can only be determined in the real world when it's administered to people. Whether it's the corona vaccine of India, Pfizer or Moderna, the vaccine's efficacy rate reaches around 90-95% only after the second dose.

The vaccine doesn't provide 100% immunity from the disease. Besides, the vaccine storage also affects efficacy. It means that you may have a slight chance of contracting the illness despite being vaccinated.

Vaccination may make you an asymptomatic carrier.

Pizer and Moderna vaccine trials had found vaccinated people get the viral infection without the symptoms. This proves that vaccinated people can be asymptomatic carriers of the disease. Besides, the corona vaccine is injected into the muscle. If the virus enters your respiratory tract, the vaccine aids the body to develop antibodies to avoid the virus from entering your system.

However, the virus may still exist in your nose or mouth, and thus you may spread the disease to others through sneezing or coughing.

You may spread the virus to low-immunity people.

Continuing the above point, despite vaccination, you may still pose a threat to those who have not been vaccinated. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may avoid the vaccine. People who develop allergic reactions to the vaccine ingredients will also be instructed not to take the second dose. Besides, the vaccine trials didn't include people with chronic illness such as cancer and heart disease.

The efficacy of the vaccine on these people may not be certain. So, cancer patients and low-immunity people may get infected with the virus even from a vaccinated person. Hence, after vaccination, you should be wearing the mask to ensure you don't infect people who are not vaccinated or belong to the low-immunity category.

We are not yet closer to herd immunity.

The COVID-19 virus may eventually be curbed after we achieve the 'herd immunity'. This means a maximum number of people would require the corona vaccine for immunisation against the disease. However, we are still in the nascent stage of the vaccination drive. We still have miles to walk in terms of distributing and administering vaccines across the country.

You need to protect yourself and others from the new COVID variant.

A new variant of coronavirus has been identified and is claimed to be more contagious by the medical experts worldwide. If you are vaccinated but don't wear a mask, you may transmit the coronavirus's new variants to others. Hence, after vaccination, you need to wear a mask to avoid possible infections to yourself and others from the new strain of coronavirus.

The above reasons justify the need for people to wear a mask even after getting the vaccine. However, despite Government warnings and reiteration of safety guidelines, many people avoid wearing masks in public places. If vaccinated people travel without face covers, it can make it difficult for the Government to control the pandemic.

Hence, even if you take the corona vaccine in India, make sure you follow these safety measures:

  • Maintain six feet of social distance from everyone
  • Wear your mask when you step out of your home
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap or hand sanitiser
  • Avoid going to crowded places as much as possible

Till we receive guideline changes from the medical experts, it's best to not consider the corona vaccine as the permanent protection from the disease.

Also read:

To conclude

A medical crisis like this comes without an alarm and can drain out all your finances. Today, health insurance has become a necessity more than an investment or a tax-saving tool. With the onset of COVID-19, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) announced a mandatory rule to include coronavirus treatment in all health insurance policies.

The insurance companies also received a directive to introduce COVID-specific insurance policies called Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak to cover the expensive medical treatment. These include ICU and hospitalisation charges, medicines, consultation fees and certain other medical expenses.

In case you haven't purchased a health policy yet, you can take a look at Family health insurance policy, which also includes coverage for the treatment of coronavirus. With this policy, you can avail of benefits like no co-pay clause, no room rent capping, cashless hospitalisation, and coverage for pre-existing diseases, among others.

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