Do I still need to wear a mask and social distance now that the vaccine is here?
It’s as plain and simple as that. However, the more complex answer comes after the question ‘Why?’
Even after you have been vaccinated, you must still stick to the government guidelines on social distancing and wearing a mask for the safety of other non-vaccinated people.
A concerning factor to think about is that we are not entirely sure whether the vaccine protects people from the virus completely or just the symptoms of the virus. Thus meaning, vaccinated people could still potentially spread the virus to non-vaccinated people, however, this would be at a much slower rate than the current rate of infection.
The first vaccines require two shots; Pfizer’s comes three weeks after the first and Moderna’s comes four weeks after but the effects are not immediate. Although you may have some protection against the virus after the first shot, full protection may not be seen until a few weeks after the second shot, meaning you could still contract Covid-19 within the time period between the two and a short period after.
How quickly will the Covid-19 vaccines stop the pandemic?
“The impact of COVID-19 vaccines on the pandemic will depend on several factors. These include factors such as the effectiveness of the vaccines; how quickly they are approved, manufactured, and delivered; and how many people get vaccinated,” says the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Most scientists anticipate that, like most other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines will not be 100% effective.”
Currently, only adults are permitted to receive the vaccine and there is a system that determines which groups have access first, going from must vulnerable to least vulnerable.
Vaccine testing for children has just begun but until the study suggests it is safe and effective for them, children will not be receiving vaccinations at this time.
All these factors make it difficult to put a time frame on when exactly we will be Covid-19 free, and many suggest we will not see a fully vaccinated world for at least two years. However, we have come a long way since the beginning of 2020. We may still have to social distance and wear our masks but the news of a vaccine is promising. It may not be the complete answer we have been looking for in order to stop the pandemic and go back to living our ‘normal’ lives, but it is a start in the right direction. So, wear your masks, social distance, and take care!