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Fully Vaccinated and Not Sure If You Should Still Wear Masks? All Your FAQs Answered

Representational photo.

Representational photo.

News18 answers all the questions on the recommended Covid-19 appropriate etiquette for fully vaccinated individuals.

You waited for days, sometimes weeks, chased slots on CoWin like ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ contestants during the fastest finger first round, and when the coveted appointment was booked, you rolled up your sleeve and got jabbed.

And then you underwent the entire painful process again. So, what is your reward? Can you now forego wearing masks? Can you travel freely?

News18 answers all the frequently-asked questions on the recommended Covid-19 appropriate etiquette for fully vaccinated individuals.

When am I considered fully vaccinated?

Since India only has two-dose vaccine candidates, the US CDC says you are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving your second dose.

Am I still at risk?

Indoor and outdoor activities pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people, says the CDC.

Can I still be a carrier of the virus?

Fully vaccinated people have a reduced risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to unvaccinated people, but the possibility remains.

Do I still have to wear masks?

According to the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinated people are no longer obligated to wear a face mark or be six feet away from others, be it outdoors or indoors. And at least eight countries including the US, Denmark, Greece, France and Spain have done away with the mask mandates, but India hasn’t released any such guidelines as the percentage of those completely vaccinated remains nominal.

However, considering that such people can still carry the virus and infect others, wearing masks in public areas and remaining six feet apart is recommended.

Can I travel?

Fully vaccinated individuals can avoid testing before domestic and international trips (unless required by the destination country) and don’t need to self-quarantine after their return to India. Travellers do need to pay close attention to the situation at their international destinations before travelling due to the spread of new variants. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) and the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI) recommended the same during a recent meeting with the Health Ministry.

Those who have already received both their doses can also avoid Covid tests and quarantine during inter-state travel in India in the coming days. Masks, however, are still required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.

What should I do in large gatherings or outdoor public places?

  • When outdoors or in an enclosed space with people from a single household who aren’t fully vaccinated and if none of them is at an increased risk for severe Covid-19 disease, fully vaccinated individuals can choose not to wear masks or maintain social distancing.
  • In the case of an outdoor setting where the environment is not controlled and there are chances of encounters with strangers, experts recommend that folks mask up if can’t maintain distancing.
  • When in indoor spaces out in public, such as the grocery store, pharmacy, or other business, masks are required for nearly everyone, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not.

What about work?

Masks are required in any space accessible to the public, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. For example, if you work at a business open to customers or you provide community services where people from the general public can walk in, masks are required in those spaces.

What if I am exposed to an infected person?

US health experts say in such cases, one needn’t test themselves, if asymptomatic. If asymptomatic, they do not need to get tested either. However, they still have to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour to mitigate the chances of spreading the infection. And, they should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days following exposure.

Do I need to get tested if exposed to the coronavirus?

For now, fully vaccinated people get tested if experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. They should also avid private or public settings if they have tested positive for Covid-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.

What do I do if I am experiencing Covid-19 symptoms?

Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with Covid-19 is low, with variants in the mix, the chances are getting higher. Any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for Covid-19, and get tested if indicated. The symptomatic fully vaccinated person should inform their healthcare provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in India surpassed 38 crore on Monday as more than 37.03 lakh doses were administered.

Cumulatively, 11,41,34,915 people in the age group of 18-44 have received their first dose and 38,88,828 have received their second dose of the vaccine since the start of phase-3 of the vaccination drive in the country.

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first published:July 13, 2021, 17:39 IST