With new versions of the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out and the number of administered doses increasing, society is collectively gaining hope for a chance at normalcy. However, being vaccinated is not a ticket back to a mask-less and social-distance free time. Regulations must remain in place for the well-being and safety of the public.
At the current time, the majority of the population remains unvaccinated, leaving those who are, in the same boat as the rest of us. It will be a while until the country reaches herd immunity, and until then, those who are vaccinated and those who aren’t must continue to coexist in a way that’s as safe as possible. Those in charge are still deciding what remains the best plan of action. CDC director Rochelle Walensky announces, “We are taking the time to get this right ad we will be releasing the guidance soon. We want to make sure the communication is crystal clear.”
Among experts, opinions are divided. Some believe that once the vaccination is administered, the patient should be given as much freedom as is reasonable because it is perceived as safe and will encourage more people to go get vaccines. Others believe that such drastic changes should not be made so early on. They urge for more research on the vaccine’s ability to fend off new variants as well as the possibility of vaccinated individuals spreading the virus to those who are unprotected. However, most collectively agree that until herd immunity is achieved, masks, social-distancing, and avoiding small indoor gatherings should remain intact.
In summation, we shouldn’t be too hasty to lower public health regulations. Although defenses are being developed and distributed, the virus is still very much a threat and people are still dying from it everyday. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiology professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health cautions against making such drastic changes so soon, “Particularly for these several months where immunization coverage is low, we’re still learning about the variants, and we still need to know about this onward transmission, the public health messaging really is to maintain these behaviors until we get out of this. We’re not out of it yet.”