As Virus is Mutating, Mask, Physical Distancing Need to Continue After Both Doses: AIIMS Chief

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As uncertainty about vaccine efficacy amid mutating virus is looming large, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Director, Dr Randeep Guleria said that wearing of a mask and physical distancing need to continue even by those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

This comes a day after the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US said fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask and can resume activities like prior to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, in India, the government officials and the medical fraternity claimed that it may be too early for such an announcement amid virus mutations. “I think there is a need to be cautious and at least till we have more data. Keeping in mind that this virus is very clever and keeps mutating, we cannot say what will be the protection from vaccines as far as new emerging variants are concerned. It is better to wear masks and maintain physical distance because no matter what the variants are, masks and physical distancing will protect,” Dr Guleria told The Times of India.

However, there is no plan to revise the advisory in India as of now, official sources in the health ministry said. “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,” a senior official said.

HIghlighting vaccine hesitancy across US, Experts said CDC’s advisory could be with a view to promote vaccination, while some felt that this could also be linked with the government’s intention to restart economic activities.

“Covid-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. 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,” CDC said.

As per CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, and two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

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