One opinion held by those vaccinated is that the vaccine fully protects them from Covid and other strains. Unfortunately, the vaccination does not prevent infection of the virus in vaccinated people. Vaccinated people can still be infected, and further spread the virus. The critical difference between vaccinated people and unvaccinated people is that vaccinated people are infected for less time than those who have not been vaccinated.
What is a Vaccine and How Does it Work?
When an individual gets a vaccine, it allows their body to become accustomed to the virus and how it reacts with the body. Once the body understands the virus better, it can create immunity against it. This allows the body to fight future infections by this virus. The problem with viruses is that they can mutate and change from the original strain introduced to the body. When a vaccinated person becomes infected with a new strain of the virus, the body can still fight the virus, but it can still struggle with the changes from the original strain.
Millions of Americans are vaccinated, and that number is increasing annually. Vaccines and screenings are extremely effective in curbing the viral spread and reducing severe disease. Although vaccines are highly effective, they are not perfect. The implementation of masks among both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can help curb the viral spread.
There is currently a dominant strain of the virus in the United States called Delta. The new strain of Covid referred to as the Delta Variant, is a much more contagious strain than the original. Because of the rate of spread, wearing a mask has never been more critical for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Vaccinated individuals can still become infected with this new strain.
The tests being done by the CDC have proven that vaccinated people are infected for a less amount of time than unvaccinated people. Also, the bodies of those that have been vaccinated responded better to the virus. Their symptoms were not near as severe as those that were not vaccinated. In late June, we had reported around 12,000 cases in a seven-day moving average. By July 27, we had over 60,000 cases. This looked more like the rates we normally saw before this vaccine became widely available.
Preventing Spread by Wearing Masks
The most important reason for wearing masks even if you are vaccinated is to help prevent the spread. As said above, vaccinated individuals can still contract the virus and infect those around them. Wearing a mask ensures that the vaccinated individual remains safe, and if infected, wearing a mask can help keep those around them safe. There are guidelines for wearing a mask and choosing the safest mask.
Guidelines For Wearing and Choosing a Mask
When choosing what mask is safest, remember to keep these guidelines in mind:
- Choose a mask with multiple layers of fabric that is also breathable.
- Make sure your mask covers your mouth and nose.
- You want to ensure that your mask fits snuggly to your face to prevent respiratory droplets from entering.
- Having a nose wire on the top of your mask is especially important. The wire can be bent to fit your nose to create less space for infection to enter.
- To be extra safe, you can wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask.
Other guidelines to follow with mask implementation:
- Children under two years of age should not be wearing masks.
- Individuals with medical conditions should also avoid wearing masks if the mask can adversely affect their immune systems.
- Men with beards should wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask to help press and tighten the mask to the face and over the beard.
The Delta variant, vaccine effectiveness, and existing vaccination coverage indicate that masks are needed to reduce the transmission of this variant. Whether you are vaccinated or not, wearing a mask can improve your chances of not being infected. While wearing a mask, you are not only protecting yourself but those around you, too.
Doing research and becoming knowledgeable on vaccines and how they work can also play a key role in being prepared if cases spike in your area. If you take this knowledge and combine it with the guidelines of the CDC, you will have a better understanding of why masks are so important regardless of your vaccination status.