Wearing masks, social distancing, and carrying hand sanitisers has become the new normal over the past year. Many countries worldwide have been trying their best to combat COVID. However, only some were successful. Nonetheless, vaccines have become available now, which seems promising for the future.
-by Areeba Mahmood
Assessing the risks of COVID
With vaccines came a lot of questions. Is it okay to not wear masks anymore or go to social gatherings without maintaining a safe distance? The mRNA vaccines are highly effective against the coronavirus, but there is still a slim chance of catching the disease with mild or no symptoms. With new strains of the virus being detected, the efficacy may be lowered. While it may be okay to be in close contact with people who have been vaccinated, others may catch the virus and display severe symptoms.
Can the ‘new normal’ ever go back to the old one?
Most vaccines require two doses, and it takes time to become fully immunised. Research tells that 5% of people do not elicit a proper immune response, making them more prone to the disease with severe symptoms. Therefore, even after being vaccinated, wearing a mask is essential, as it may not be harmful to you; it may be hazardous to your friends or family.
Travelling has become relatively more accessible now. However one should monitor the situation of the pandemic in the country they plan to travel to as the vaccine you got may not be as effective against the strains found in that country. You would still be required to wear a mask on the plane, bus, or to maintain a safe distance from others.
It is essential to check for symptoms or get tested after being in close contact with a sick person. We are still not aware of a lot. Researchers are trying to find answers to every question, but it is better to be safe than sorry. The restrictions cannot be lowered until the vaccines are available to a broader community who can access and get the vaccine.
-The author is contributing writer at Medical News Pakistan and can be reached at [email protected]