Fully-vaccinated people should continue masking, physical distancing: AIIMS Director
Wearing of a face mask and maintaining physical distancing need to be continued even by those who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr. Randeep Guleria has said. His statement stands in sharp contrast with the United States' top public health agency's directive that fully vaccinated people can now go without masks.
'This virus is very clever and keeps mutating'
Dr. Guleria underlined that COVID-19 is constantly mutating and experts are not yet sure how much the vaccines can protect against the emerging variants. "I think there is a need to be cautious and at least till we have more data." "It is better to wear masks and maintain physical distance because no matter what the variants are, masks and physical distancing will protect."
No way masks can be kept aside, says official
Separately, sources in the Health Ministry have said there is no plan to review the advisory in India as yet. "We cannot take such a risk at this stage and though very few, there have been breakthrough infections. There is no way the masks can be kept aside," an official said, according to The Times of India.
Fully vaccinated people can forgo masks: CDC
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States said that fully vaccinated people could drop their masks at most places. "Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic," the CDC said.
Recent research suggests vaccines prevent illness, spread
Recent studies conducted in the US suggest that most vaccinated people do not get sick with COVID-19. Fully vaccinated people are also highly unlikely to infect others in case they are carrying the virus. However, most of this data has been collected on Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, hence similar conclusions cannot be made about the other vaccines yet.
Less than 0.05% infected after vaccination: Government
In April, the Indian government had said that less than 0.05% of vaccinated people had tested positive for the coronavirus. Further, the infection was mild in most of such cases, the authorities said. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the prescribed number of doses, according to experts. So far, India has fully vaccinated only 3% of its population.