As we recently learned, the Pfizer vaccine is on the verge of being given its initial approval for distribution and the vaccinations will become available to select groups of people in a matter of days. It will obviously take a while to vaccinate everyone who wants to receive the shot, possibly taking until May or June. But assuming you’re one of the people who will be signing up to try it, once you have that out of the way, you’re pretty much in the clear, right? Assuming you have your new Immunization Identification card on you (and believe me, they’re going to try to make us start carrying them), you should be able to put away your face masks and get on with your life. Or so you’d like to think. But according to our nation’s healthcare authorities, that’s not true at all. You’d better keep those masks handy, possibly for quite a while to come. (Associated Press)
Can I stop wearing a mask after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
No. For a couple reasons, masks and social distancing will still be recommended for some time after people are vaccinated.
To start, the first coronavirus vaccines require two shots; Pfizer’s second dose comes three weeks after the first and Moderna’s comes after four weeks. And the effect of vaccinations generally aren’t immediate.
People are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot. But full protection may not happen until a couple weeks after the second shot.
Before anyone assumes that a vaccination requiring two injections is somehow suspicious, it’s not. I finally went to get the shingles vaccine this year and it too required a second injection. That one didn’t happen until seven weeks after the initial shot, so three or four weeks to wait for the second COVID injection probably isn’t too much to ask.