As US says masks not needed after vaccination, here’s why removing masks is not advisable in India

The situation in India, however, is not bound to change in light of the new CDC advisory.

Coronavirus vaccination: A few days ago, the apex health body in the US, CDC, had issued an advisory stating that those people who had been fully vaccinated in the country need not wear masks any longer. This means that people who had received their second vaccine dose at least two weeks ago could now go out without face masks. The advisory took many people as well as scientists by surprise, according to a report in IE. As per CDC, its advisory was backed by studies showing that after the vaccine, very few people got infected, and that the chances of them transmitting the disease to other people were even lesser.

However, people around the world are questioning this new guideline that CDC has issued, a stark contrast from the fact that usually, health authorities worldwide often follow what the CDC has to say.

It is important to remember, though, that the advisory issued by CDC is only meant for people in the US and some conditions have also been imposed on these guidelines. The US health authority has directed teachers as well as students to continue wearing masks when they go to school, and people who have been vaccinated have still been asked to ensure that they wear masks when they are in flights, healthcare facilities or crowded situations.

Over the past few months, there has been a steady decline in the number of cases and deaths that the US is recording, with around 30,000 cases and more than 600 daily deaths being reported a day.

One of the factors in this decline of cases could be the fact that till last week, nearly 33% of the population of the US, meaning more than 12 crore people, had been administered the vaccine.

The situation in India, however, is not bound to change in light of the new CDC advisory. However, it is also probable that some people might end up being influenced by the advisory and stop wearing masks after being vaccinated, believing that they are safe from the infection and can also not infect anyone else.

This is the reason why several doctors and health experts located in India have taken a stand against the CDC decision. Expert member of the COVID-19 task force in Maharashtra Dr Shashank Joshi said that adequate data was not available to base such a decision on, and therefore he would choose to wait some more time.

Another factor that differs India from the US is that the country is still in the middle of a severe second wave with only a small percentage of the population having been vaccinated. Moreover, the vaccines that India is using to inoculate people are also different to the ones being used by the US. Apart from that, there are multiple variants of the virus among the population, with newer ones also emerging, and efficacy of vaccines against these variants has still not been properly determined. This is why dropping the mask after being fully vaccinated cannot be advised in India.

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