What Are The Masking Guidelines For Vaccinated People
Masking guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated people have changed a lot during the pandemic. At this point, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sums up the guidance as, Wear a mask when theres a lot of COVID in your community.
The good news is that, right now, COVID-19 transmission rates are low across most of the country.
CDC also recommends masks if youre spending time with people who have weaker immune systems this can help keep them from getting sick. Of course, you can continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors based on your personal comfort level.
Are You Less Likely To Get Covid If You Are Vaccinated
Some patients have seen reports about fully vaccinated people getting infected, and they are asking if this means the vaccines arent working. Others have asked if getting vaccinated helps prevent the transmission, or spread, of COVID-19. These are both important questions.
What are breakthrough infections?
We have known all along that the COVID-19 vaccines are not perfect. Like other vaccines weve used routinely for years, they are highly effective, but not 100% .
When a fully vaccinated person gets infected, it is often called a breakthrough infection. There are a few things to know about breakthrough infections:
- Doctors, scientists and regulators monitor for breakthrough infections very closely. In fact, Manitoba Public Health now reports new and active cases by vaccination status.
- The scientific evidence is confirming that the vaccines reduce the likelihood of getting infected with COVID-19, including against the Delta variant of concern.
- The evidence is also confirming that when breakthrough infections happen, the chance is very low of getting seriously sick, requiring hospital care, dying or developing long COVID.
So, the vaccines help to reduce the chance of getting COVID-19 and they are still incredibly effective at preventing severe illness and death, including against variants of concern like the Delta variant.
Do the vaccines prevent transmission of COVID-19?
Reaction To The Research
This modeling study is not surprising and weve seen this phenomenon in real life, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland.
The less interaction the unvaccinated have with the vaccinated, the lower the risk of breakthrough infections, Adalia told Healthline.
With vaccines such as the first generation COVID vaccines that do not provide complete sterilizing immunity meaning people can get infected but at a lower rate the unvaccinated can drive breakthrough infections in the vaccinated when they interact with them, he added.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee said the study is a model, but the takeaways can be very, very instructive.
We know that the virus can infect the vaccinated as well as unvaccinated people but this model indicates, really with some clarity, that unvaccinated people not only have obviously increased risk for themselves but are more efficient transmitters drivers or engines of transmission in the community, Schaffner told Healthline.
The Canadian study did not look at what impact proper masking might have.
However, Adalja says we already have a model. Just look at the medical profession.
A recent Associated Press poll shows a slight majority of Americans, 56 percent, prefer to keep masking up on planes, trains, and buses.
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Do I Need To Wear A Mask To Hang Out With Unvaccinated Friends If I’m Vaccinated
When the world opened back up in 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assured fully vaccinated folks that it was OK to resume pre-pandemic activities without masking up or physically distancing. That’s because the vaccines had been shown to be highly effective against severe disease due to the virus that causes COVID-19, including variants.
“At their best, the vaccines are 95% effective in keeping us out of the hospital,” Dr. Schaffner told Health. And while health experts initially thought that if you were fully vaccinated, you couldn’t become infected with COVID-19 or pass it on, they had to change that status when it become clear that breakthrough infections were possible.
All that’s to say that vaccines do go a long way toward keeping vaccinated people protected. “But they’re not perfect,” allowed Dr. Schaffner. And that’s where other mitigation measures, like masking, may come into play.
Should Unvaccinated People Avoid Bars And Restaurants Experts Weigh In
As the coronavirus pandemic enters a new phase driven by the more transmissible delta variant, experts are warning against indoor dining for those who are not vaccinated.
Experts who spoke to TODAY Food were in agreement that unvaccinated people should avoid indoor drinking and dining, especially as coronavirus cases increase around the nation.
“As an unvaccinated person, you are much more likely to be infected, you’re much more likely to transmit it to more people. The kind of networks that you get into when indoor dining are themselves quite dicey,” said Dr. William Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noting that indoor dining is one of the “higher-risk activities” to engage in during the pandemic.
Related: More than 180.7 million Americans 18 years or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC.
Dr. Krystal Pollitt, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, said that with the increased transmissibility of the delta variant and the concern about breakthrough cases, choosing to dine indoors while unvaccinated puts more people at risk than just the unvaccinated diner.
“It increases the level of risk of transmission for everyone around,” Pollitt said. “I think that all has to be taken into consideration when people make that decision when they’re unvaccinated and participating in that higher-risk activity.”
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Vaccination Provides Strong Protection Against Severe Disease But You Might Want To Mask Up In Certain Situations
If you enthusiastically vaxxed up partly out of a desire to be social again, you weren’t alonecatching up with friends in real life was one of the initial perks of COVID-19 vaccination.
But vaccination rates in the US fell short of expectations . What does that mean for Sunday brunches, backyard barbecues, and other activities if you’re vaccinated but your friends or family members are not? Is it still OK to hang out?
Here’s what public health officials and experts in infectious disease and emergency medicine said about what’s safe and what precautions you may want to take.
/8what Can You Do To Make Your Meetings Safer
Nonetheless, if you do happen to meet friends or just about anyone who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, basic preventive measures will go a long way in protecting and further mitigating the risks you may face. If you have been vaccinated:
-Double mask up, possibly layering a surgical with a cloth mask and ensure it fits tightly around your mouth and covers the nose.
-Carry a sanitizer at all times and when you can, wash hands.
-Maintain distance and follow adequate measures.
-Stay at home if you suspect flu-like, coronavirus-related symptoms.
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Immunocompromised People Often Use Their Health Status To Convince Others To Get Vaccinated
As part of the poll, patients were asked if they have had to convince any family members or friends to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Of the 1,380 who responded to this question, 66 percent said yes.
Trying to convince someone you love to get vaccinated can be challenging, especially if their decision is rooted in religious or political beliefs or misinformation. In a free response section of the poll, many people shared that theyve tried to get through to vaccine hesitant loved ones by centering the conversation around their chronic illness.
I am immunocompromised and on Rituxan, and although I was vaccinated, later found out that I had no B cells, so I am extremely cautious, one person shared. It makes me so angry to find out about friends who dont believe in the vaccine, or who feel its an issue of rights over health. I can only hope by telling my story, they will reconsider.
I explain that I am immunocompromised because of rheumatoid arthritis and because of the medications I have to take to treat RA, another patient wrote. I say the amount of protection I have against COVID-19 may not be sufficient to keep me safe and I need to rely on everybody else to get vaccinated.
Ive told people if they really care about my safety, they will get the vaccine and protect immunocompromised people like me, one person shared.
Heres Why Vaccinated People Still Need To Wear A Mask
The new vaccines will probably prevent you from getting sick with Covid. No one knows yet whether they will keep you from spreading the virus to others but that information is coming.
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The new Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna seem to be remarkably good at preventing serious illness. But its unclear how well they will curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Thats because the Pfizer and Moderna trials tracked only how many vaccinated people became sick with Covid-19. That leaves open the possibility that some vaccinated people get infected without developing symptoms, and could then silently transmit the virus especially if they come in close contact with others or stop wearing masks.
If vaccinated people are silent spreaders of the virus, they may keep it circulating in their communities, putting unvaccinated people at risk.
A lot of people are thinking that once they get vaccinated, theyre not going to have to wear masks anymore, said Michal Tal, an immunologist at Stanford University. Its really going to be critical for them to know if they have to keep wearing masks, because they could still be contagious.
This is why mucosal vaccines, like the nasal spray FluMist or the oral polio vaccine, are better than intramuscular injections at fending off respiratory viruses, experts said.
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Unvaccinated People Create Higher Risk For Vaccinated Study Says
People who donât get vaccinated against COVID-19 are putting themselves in danger and also are creating a âdisproportionateâ threat to the health of vaccinated people, even in places with high vaccination rates, says a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The study by University of Toronto researchers used computer modeling based on the province of Ontario to predict infection rates when unvaccinated and vaccinated people mixed to varying degrees. The researchers worked in factors such as vaccine effectiveness, baseline immunity among the unvaccinated, and infection recovery rates.
Unvaccinated people were always at a higher risk of infection, the study said. Vaccinated people had lower infection rates when they mixed with other vaccinated people and lower rates when they mixed with unvaccinated people. The study found unvaccinated people enjoyed a lower infection rate when they mixed with vaccinated people because the vaccinated people served as a âbuffer,â the study said.
âWe found that the choices made by people who forgo vaccination contribute disproportionately to risk among those who do get vaccinated,â the researchers wrote.
âAlthough risk associated with avoiding vaccination during a virulent pandemic accrues chiefly to people who are unvaccinated, their choices affect risk of viral infection among those who are vaccinated in a manner that is disproportionate to the portion of unvaccinated people in the population.â
/8why Preventive Measures Are Still Important To Follow
With the Delta variant, it has become all the more evident to understand the many benefits COVID vaccination guarantees against feared complications-including hospitalization and death. The risks from not being vaccinated, too, double up. So, in situations like these, how safe is it actually to meet someone who is unvaccinated?
How do the risks with the Delta variant compare for someone who is vaccinated and unvaccinated?
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What If My Household Has People Who Are Fully Vaccinated And Others Who Arent
If only some people in your household are fully vaccinated, you should take precautions as if your household is unvaccinated. This means you should wear masks and stay 6 feet apart when visiting with people from other partially or unvaccinated households and avoid those gatherings if possible.
You can visit with people from one fully-vaccinated household at a time as long as no one in your household is at risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
/8should You Take The Risk
Despite the hesitancy some have about getting the vaccine and those not getting the vaccine out of sheer will, there are also vulnerable groups like kids who do not have any access to vaccines. People who may not be suitable to vaccination may also be forced to sit out. Granted that there can be risks, it is also understandable that some commitments can be unavoidable, and hence, the decision to meet or avoid someone who’s unvaccinated solely depends on your choice, and individual risks.
If you have been vaccinated, with a history of preconditions which can impact immunity, or have compromised immunity, it would be wiser to postpone meets, or meet through virtual settings for the sake of your health. The condition also applies for, if you plan to meet kids or other such unvaccinated groups. Weigh your individual risks, and then consider the meet, even if you go happen to visit a public place , where there’s no real way to know who is vaccinated and who isn’t
If you do plan to meet or go out, also count in the demographics of the place you would be visiting- the crowd expected at the place, modes of travel, prior COVID exposure, measures followed etc.
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What To Do If You Test Positive
People with healthy immune systems, regardless of vaccination status, should isolate for five days after testing positive for the virus, but you can end isolation at day six if you have not had symptoms or if you have not had a fever for 24 hours and other symptoms have improved, according to the guidelines.
After leaving isolation, you should wear a high-quality mask through day 10 after your positive test. If you have had two negative rapid antigen tests you can stop wearing your mask earlier, according to the guidelines. But you should avoid people who are more likely to get sick from Covid, such as the elderly and people with weak immune systems, until at least day 11.
People with weakened immune systems, those who have been hospitalized with Covid, or those who have had shortness of breath due to the virus should isolate from others for 10 days. But people with weakened immune systems and those who were hospitalized should also consult a physician before ending isolation.
If you end isolation but your Covid symptoms worsen, you should return to isolation and follow the guidelines from scratch again, according to the CDC.
The U.S. is currently reporting more than 107,000 new Covid cases a day on average, according to the CDC. That’s likely a significant undercount because many people are now testing at home and results are not picked up in official data.
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Dr. Andi Shane, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, said that the vaccine requirement for indoor activity is “really important” and could help end the pandemic, and noted that similar policies already exist for some international travel and large group activities.
“If we can’t rely on people’s individual ability to say whether or not they’ve been vaccinated … That little extra step does provide some security and some reassurance,” she said. “I think that’s one way that is effective in making sure that people who are vaccinated are participating safely and people who are unvaccinated are not participating and potentially exposing other people.”
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Cdc Says Quarantine After Covid Exposure No Longer Necessary
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that its no longer recommending that adults and children quarantine after having been exposed to Covid-19, aligning its guidance more closely with what many people are doing already as the urgency of the pandemic response wanes.
The CDC added that it was also rolling back its so-called test-to-stay policy that suggested children exposed to Covid-19 obtain a negative test in order to remain in the classroom or in childcare settings.
These updates make it easier for schools to assess their risk and make necessary action to protect students and staff, Greta Massetti, chief of the CDCs Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, said in a call with reporters on Thursday.
The Atlanta-based health agency released a suite of new recommendations on how Americans should navigate the ever-evolving pandemic. Massetti said the reason the CDC is recommending rolling back test-to-stay is because the agency is broadly unwinding its quarantine guidelines, and the policy was designed to be an alternative to quarantine.
Our goal is to provide sustainable guidance that allows flexibility and ensures everyone has access to information to protect themselves and others, Massetti said.
What Questions Do You Have About Omicron
With the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant of concern, labelled Omicron, CTVNews.ca wants to hear from Canadians with any questions.
Tell us what youd like to know when it comes to the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
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