Should we still wear masks after being vaccinated?

Peyton Dripps, Contributing Writer

We seem to be a step closer to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but how much longer will we have to live under these restrictions? With the influx of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, many hope that restrictions will be lifted and the wearing of face masks will no longer be required. Although seeming counterintuitive, public health authorities have expressed that people should continue to wear face masks even after being vaccinated, creating public backlash. The answer as to why people who are vaccinated will still have to wear face masks is complicated. 

What is the point of getting the vaccine if we still have to wear face masks and socially distance? We need to go back to normalcy, or else our society will continue to live in fear.

Although many believe that COVID-19 antibodies last for about three months, it is unknown the length of time that one will be protected from the virus. According to scientific research, it is very unlikely that someone can contract COVID-19 more than once. Public health officials also state that it’s unknown how long the vaccine will protect people from the virus. With this being said, people question the difference between having the COVID-19 antibodies and actually receiving the vaccine. Will the restrictions differ depending on immunity? Those who receive the vaccine and have the antibodies should not be required to wear face masks, due to the fact that they are likely to be protected from the virus. If a majority of people have the COVID-19 antibodies or have received the vaccine, it is likely that the pandemic will end soon. In addition, “the [CDC] said that those who are fully vaccinated can spend time with unvaccinated people indoors, with no mask, so long as those who are unvaccinated are at low risk for severe COVID-19,” health reporter Kayla Rivas said. As of March 8, “according to data compiled by the CDC, 9.2 percent of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated, and 17.7 percent have received at least one dose,” Rivas shares with the public. 

As for the use of masks after receiving the vaccine, many believe that wearing a mask should be a choice. Research has shown that COVID-19 can still be transmitted from those who have received the vaccine, even if their symptoms are less severe or nonexistent. Those who are vaccinated and are not at high risk of having severe symptoms of COVID-19 should not be required to wear a mask. People who are not vaccinated and do not have the COVID-19 antibodies should be encouraged to wear a face mask for their own safety, and for the safety of community members who also have not been vaccinated. 

No one likes wearing a mask, but out of respect for people in our communities, we have a responsibility to consider the safety of others as best that we can. Businesses have been destroyed and many people have lost their jobs due to the lockdowns in the United States. This needs to end. Many hope that once the majority of the population is vaccinated and or has immunity, we will experience a somewhat normal and mask-free life in the near future.

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