As Singaporeans continue to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus with each passing day, it is natural to wonder when life will return to normal again. Those who have already received their shots may look forward to disposing of their masks and going out freely in public once more. They may revel in no longer having to observe physical distancing. However, experts warn that is not the case just yet.
According to them, the public must still observe these precautions up until the foreseeable future, whether they have already been vaccinated or not. The vaccine is just an additional layer of protection against the virus.
For things to go back to normal, a certain threshold must be achieved first. Delve deeper into the details below, as well as four reasons why you still need to keep your mask on.
Why it’s important to keep wearing masks
As mentioned above, a specific threshold called herd immunity needs to be crossed before life can go back to normal. Herd immunity, also known as community immunity, means that most of the population in a given area has immunity against a specific disease. Ideally, 50 to 80 per cent of the people will have to be vaccinated before restrictions can be significantly relaxed.
Thankfully, there is some good news for those who are already vaccinated. That is the capacity to hold indoor gatherings once more with other fully vaccinated individuals － no mask necessary. However, when it is time to go out in public, continued observance of the established safety rules is a must.
Reasons to continue following the safety rules for the pandemic
1. The vaccine takes time to work
As a medical expert may have already briefed you, reaching the full effectiveness of the vaccine will take two weeks after getting the second dose, whether it is the Pfizer or the Moderna.
Although the first shot provides a partial immune response, it does not mean you are already protected from the virus. Moreover, you may even suffer some side effects such as headache, soreness, or a slight fever.
2. Vaccination does not guarantee 100% protection
While vaccines are effective, they only offer 94 to 95 per cent protection. This means you will still have a 5 per cent chance that you will not take well to the vaccine and remain at risk of the virus.
3. There is the possibility of vaccinated persons being asymptomatic spreaders
The vaccine prevents the illness, but more extensive research is required to identify if the vaccines also work against spreading the virus through asymptomatic carriers. Medical experts are concerned that some people classify as these carriers.
Even though they are already fully vaccinated, they may still carry the virus with them and potentially spread it to others despite showing no symptoms. If vaccinated persons discontinue wearing masks, the virus may continue to circulate.
4. To protect individuals that can’t be vaccinated or have compromised immune systems
Those with chronic medical conditions, like cancer or heart disease, are at a higher risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19. Since they are not included in the clinical trials, medical experts cannot assume that they too will benefit from the vaccine’s same effective rate.
Moreover, those who have allergic reactions to the vaccine’s ingredients will not be able to get the shot.
When consulting a doctor about getting vaccinated against COVID-19, either physically or online, it is important to keep in mind the reasons above why it is still important to follow safety precautions like wearing masks and social distancing when out in public, until the population reaches community immunity.
If you have other questions or concerns regarding getting vaccinated, speak to a virtual doctor in Singapore any time and anywhere via the MyCLNQ app. As the leading app for telehealth in Singapore, MyCLNQ offers all the medical services you would need at the comforts of your home, such as online doctor consultation, private ambulance services, and medicinal e-Commerce.