April 05, 2021 Healthy Living

Why masks still matter during the COVID-19 pandemic, even after you’re vaccinated

True or false: I have received my COVID-19 vaccine, so I no longer need to wear my mask at all.

FALSE! Masking is still an important part of protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and our community against COVID-19. We’re just not quite ready to ditch the masks altogether. Based on the advice of health experts, you should continue taking precautions not to spread the virus, even after you are fully vaccinated.

Why can’t I stop masking?

1. It’s possible you could still spread the virus. We know that all available vaccines are effective at preventing people from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. What we don’t know is if the vaccine prevents people from unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Until we know for sure, the risk isn’t worth taking chances around people who could get sick.

2. Virus variants are complicating things. Variants of the coronavirus have emerged that possibly spread more easily. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), current vaccines may protect against some variants, but could be less effective against others. Vaccine makers are studying prospective booster shots to increase vaccine effectiveness against these variants, however, more research is needed. In the meantime, masks are a good precaution.

3. You should use every tool available. Vaccines are an incredibly important way to help stop the spread of the virus. But to end the pandemic, we all need to use every tool available to protect ourselves and others. That includes ongoing mask wearing, social distancing, and good hand washing.

Keep masking up!

Even though you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccine, you should still mask up when:

  • You’re in public.
  • You’re around unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19.
  • You’re around unvaccinated people who live with someone at increased risk for severe COVID-19.
  • You’re around a mix of unvaccinated people from different households.

Possible allowances

Once you’re fully vaccinated, there may occasionally be an opportunity to take a quick mask break. You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

If you do decide to unmask in these situations, be sure to fully consider any and all potential risks before doing so.

It might be safe to unmask if:

  • You’re around only other fully vaccinated people indoors.
  • You’re around unvaccinated people from a single household who are all at low risk for severe COVID-19.

Stay up-to-date on COVID-19

Health and safety are our top priorities, so CDPHP has been tracking developments around COVID-19 to help you stay safe and well-informed. Visit COVID-19 Information and Resources to stay up-to-date with the latest information on vaccines, testing, and more.

Need help with vaccine resources?

If you’re eligible to receive a vaccine, but struggling with resources such as where to get one or how to sign up, CDPHP can help. Call the number on your member ID card to reach our member services team, and they’ll provide the assistance you need.

Sarah Bowman
About the Author

Sarah Bowman is a communications supervisor who joined CDPHP in November 2020. A life-long lover of words, Sarah brings the team 20 years of editing and writing experience gained through her positions at a digital media company, public relations agency, and book publishing house. She attended The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY where she received her BA in Public Communications. Sarah currently resides in the Capital Region with her husband and son where she enjoys long family walks, Broadway shows, and finding the next great streaming series to binge.

One Response to “Why masks still matter during the COVID-19 pandemic, even after you’re vaccinated”

  1. Tia Carrington

    Wonderful, helpful information regarding masking- up after second vaccinations!

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