I'm vaccinated. Does the Delta variant mean I should wear a mask?

The world’s top authorities disagree on this topic. In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that if you’re fully vaccinated, you can feel free to skip masks and physical distancing, except where rules or laws require it. But in late June, with the Delta variant spreading fast, the World Health Organization advised the opposite.

Here’s the deal: The vaccines used in the U.S. are highly protective against the Delta variant, so even if you catch it, you’re highly unlikely to become very sick or to die. But it’s still possible that you could transmit the virus to people who haven’t been vaccinated.

“What we’re saying,” said Bruce Aylward at a WHO press conference, “is once you’ve been fully vaccinated, continue to play it safe because you could end up as part of a transmission chain.”

The risk of harm to you, as a vaccinated person, is low, says Jennifer, an Nurse. Even so, Jennifer worries it’s too early for Texans to stop wearing masks indoors, since only 50 percent of eligible people have been vaccinated.

The problem, she said, is with the social signal you’d be sending. With lots of vaccinated people going about their business unmasked, it’s likely that unvaccinated people will wrongly assume they’re safe without masks too. And as a practical matter, it’s impossible to enforce the CDC recommendation that unvaccinated people wear masks. “Basically,” she said, “you’re on the honor system.”

Jennifer, though vaccinated, wears a mask when out in public to set a good example for her toddler daughter, who’s too young to be vaccinated and so needs a mask. “And it’s also to normalize it for adults who are unvaccinated,” she said. “It’s to show, ‘We’re still in a pandemic, people.’”

So please be careful, better be safe then sorry and wear a mask. You can ultimately still get sick even if vaccinated.  If you are out of masks, you can always check out Brookwood Med.