Philippine vaccination rates are on the rise, despite claims about vaccination hesitancy. As of August 1, 2021, 3.4 percent of the population are fully vaccinated, with a further 7.2 percent already receiving their first dose. This means that only 3.69 million out of the over 100 million Filipinos enjoy the increased protection provided by the vaccination.
Despite these relatively low numbers, people are getting complacent and beginning to question the need of basic protections, such as wearing facemasks and maintaining social distancing.
However, doing so can be very dangerous not just to you but also to everyone around you, whether they’re vaccinated or not.
Removing your face mask even after you have received full vaccinations can expose people needlessly to the virus.
Why Do You Still Need to Wear Face Masks?
You should still need to wear face masks even after you get the vaccine for several reasons.
The most prominent being you can still get infected by the coronavirus even after you are vaccinated. Although such information may not do wonders for your COVID anxiety, it’s a hard fact that no vaccine can completely remove the risk of infection.
A vaccine works by making it highly unlikely that you will get infected by the particular pathogen you have been inoculated against. However, there is always the chance that you may still get infected because again no vaccine promises 100 percent efficacy. The good news is that, depending on which vaccines you get, the chances of you getting the virus after you are fully inoculated are very small.
Second, you must remember that your coronavirus vaccine becomes effective a few weeks after your second shot. Your body will need to adjust and build up its defenses after full inoculation. It’s important to know this after your vaccination, so you don’t end up lulled into complacency.
Getting vaccinated also doesn’t mean you can’t pass on the infection to others. The virus may not be able to affect you, but you can still become a carrier for the disease. Some studies theorize that even people who are fully vaccinated can have viral loads just as large as non-vaccinated people. A face mask can be the only way you can ensure you don’t unknowingly infect other people.
Finally, wearing face masks after vaccination ensures that you don’t enable the development or spread of virus variants. Variants develop much quicker when a virus spreads quickly, evolving and upgrading the strain with each iteration.
Wearing a face mask even when you are fully vaccinated helps slow down the spread of the virus and thus the development of new and potentially more dangerous types of the virus.
What Can You Do?
After you have gotten your vaccination, you may be wondering what you can do to encourage others to keep wearing their masks.
The following tips can help you keep yourself and others safe.
- Avoid breaking social distancing, especially for frivolous activities like parties. If you have to hold a gathering, ensure that you keep attendance to a bare minimum and maybe only invite those who are also fully vaccinated. For further safety, you should also that everyone who will attend self-isolate for two weeks prior to the event to ensure that the chances of infection are as low as possible.
- Wear a mask, especially when you are out in public. Continuing to wear a mask will help you stay safe and prevent others from contracting the disease as well. You should also encourage other people to keep wearing their masks even after vaccination. Start by asking your friends and families to keep doing so and set an example by keeping your mask on as well.
- Follow store and municipal rules regarding face masks. If you come to a restaurant or shopping establishment with a “no mask no entry” sign, don’t attempt to argue with management if you aren’t wearing yours. Doing so not only endangers yourself, but it also risks the health and lives of other patrons. Face mask mandates exist to protect everyone from the virus.
Although you will logically feel more comfortable and less anxious after you have been fully vaccinated, you shouldn’t become complacent. Just because you have decreased risk of getting infected doesn’t mean you should stop following basic health protocols such as wearing face masks.
So keep your face covered and you will help the country, even the world, emerge from this pandemic faster than ever.
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P. Torres' favorite animals are dragons, despite the lack of tangible evidence of their existence. When reading books or watching movies, anything with dragons in them gets top priority.