If it has been at least two weeks since you received your last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, congratulations! You are now considered “fully vaccinated.” You are armed with our best weapon against a virus that has killed more than 2.6 million people worldwide and Changed our lives in unimaginable ways. That is truly something worth celebrating.
But before you toss aside your mask and throw a party, it's important to remember that the coronavirus is still spreading and the majority of Indians have yet to be vaccinated — so precautions continue to be necessary to protect yourself and the people around you.
Here are 10 Things that You Should Know About, Now that You're Vaccinated:
You still need to wear a mask:
Even though COVID-19 cases are down from their peak in January, the coronavirus is still circulating in India, and new and more contagious variants have emerged. So wearing masks and social distancing are still important in helping slow its spread until we can reach herd immunity — when an estimated 70 to 85 percent of the population is vaccinated. Masking will also help slow the spread of coronavirus variants — and prevent the emergence of new ones — because the virus can't mutate if it is not spreading.
You could still catch COVID-19:
This is the other reason experts don't want you to put aside your mask just yet. Although all three vaccines authorized for emergency use in India. were found to be highly effective against severe disease and death from COVID-19, there's still a chance you could get infected with the virus. "The whole point of a vaccine is that it prevents you from dying or ending up in the hospital,” Parikh says. “But you may still get sick.”
You could infect someone else:
There's also a small chance that you could get infected with the virus and not even realize it, and then you could transmit it to someone who is not vaccinated, says Kristen Marks, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine who leads COVID-19 vaccine trials.
Researchers are still studying whether the vaccines prevent the asymptomatic spread of the virus, she says; early data indicates that they likely do. But the evidence is preliminary and more research is needed.
You can visit friends and family:
Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with others who are also fully vaccinated, without wearing masks or physical distancing if you choose, because the chance of anyone getting infected would be remote. You can also spend time inside with unvaccinated people from a single household without wearing masks or physical distancing if you choose, as long as no one is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease and no one lives with somebody who's at increased risk as well. The Government still recommends avoiding medium-size and large gatherings.
You don't have to quarantine after exposure:
You do not have to quarantine or get tested after exposure to someone with the coronavirus, as long as you aren't experiencing any symptoms. If you develop a cough, fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea, or other symptoms of COVID-19, however, you should get tested.
You should keep your vaccine record card handy:
In the future, you may need proof of vaccination to travel, work in certain industries or attend large events. Several other countries already have a validation system in the works, and a number of private companies are working on creating a digital passport that would include your vaccination status. “Obviously, your vaccine card is your main proof right now,” Parikh adds.
Your card may also come in handy to confirm which vaccine you received, and when you received it if a booster dose is required. Some people are laminating their cards; another way to preserve them is to take a photo and store it on your phone. If you didn't hang on to your card, the provider that administered your vaccine should have an electronic or paper record of it.
Travel is still discouraged:
Even though the number of airline passengers has been rising, the CDC continues to recommend against travel, even for those who are vaccinated. In explaining the decision on March 8, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky(USA) said: "In terms of travel, here's what we know: Every time that there's a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country. We know that many of our variants have emerged from international places, and we know that a travel corridor is a place where people are mixing a lot. We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time, and we're hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do, perhaps travel being among them."
It's a good time to go to the Doctor:
Countless Indians put their health care on hold due to the pandemic. Now that you're vaccinated, it's time to schedule that colonoscopy, dental cleaning, or elective surgery you've been putting off.
You may need a booster shot:
There are two reasons we might need a booster shot: If our immunity wears off naturally or if the virus changes so much that the immunity, we have from the current vaccines proves inadequate. Researchers still don't know how long immunity from the vaccines will last. “We're collecting data,”. “The phase 3 trials only started last summer, and the data lag a few weeks behind that.” The current vaccines should provide some protection against the coronavirus variants circulating right now. But a few contain a mutation that may allow the virus to elude some of the antibodies produced through vaccines. The vaccine manufacturers are working to create booster shots or updated versions of their shots to improve protection against those variants. Chances are that we will have to get some kind of COVID-19 shot on a regular basis, perhaps once every three years or every year, like the Vaccine shot.
A return to normal hinges on Herd Immunity:
Before life can get totally back to normal, experts say that first, we need to reach herd immunity — when enough Americans are vaccinated to significantly slow the spread of the virus. Estimates of when we will reach that point range from this summer to early 2022. "I'm very optimistic about summertime when rates will naturally reduce and the number of people we've been able to vaccinate will make it so that the virus is not being transmitted as quickly,”. “The wild card is the variants.” Factors that will affect that timeline include the percentage of Indians willing to get the vaccine, how quickly a vaccine for children is authorized, and how well the vaccines work against more contagious variants of the virus.
**Some Content is Sourced From CDC(US) Sites and Other News Publications
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