4 News Now Q&A: Should you stop wearing a mask after being vaccinated against COVID-19?

Your Questions Answered

Q: Should you stop wearing a mask after being vaccinated against COVID-19?

A: The plain and simple answer is no.

Masks and social distancing will still be recommended for a while after people are vaccinated. That is for a couple of reasons.

For one, the first coronavirus vaccines require two separate shots. Pfizer’s second dose comes three weeks after the first, and Moderna’s comes after four weeks. Also, the effect of vaccinations generally are not immediate. People are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot, but full protection may not come until a couple weeks after the second shot.

It is also not yet known whether the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines protect people from infection entirely, or just from symptoms. That means vaccinated people might still be able to get infected, and spread the virus.

Deborah Fuller, a vaccine expert at the University of Washington, says it would likely be at a much lower rate, but it is still a concern for health officials.

Plus, even when vaccine supplies start ramping up, getting hundreds of millions of shots into people’s arms is expected to take months. Assuming there are no major problems with distribution, and enough people step forward to actually get vaccinated, experts predict the country could reach herd immunity as early as May.

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine is always changing, so we want to keep you up to date with the latest information. If you have your own questions about the vaccine, how it works, or what experts are saying about its safety, submit them here.

We will do our best to get your questions answered.