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JCDH explains how fully vaccinated people should protect themselves from COVID-19 and its variants

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - We keep hearing about how much easier it is for the Delta variant to spread from person to person, but there seems to be some confusion about how fully vaccinated people should protect themselves.

The current guidance from the CDC says people who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear a facial covering when they’re out in public.

However, if you’re in a large crowd of people and you don’t know their vaccine status, you may want to consider masking up.

And doctors said there may be other exceptions to this rule.

Medical Director of Disease Control for the Jefferson County Department of Health, Dr. Wesley Willeford, said it’s still quite rare that a fully vaccinated person will contract the Delta variant, though it’s not impossible.

“What I’ve seen with those people is that they’ve tended to be over the age of 60 by and large and they’ve also had other health conditions that have put them at a little bit higher risk,” Dr. Willeford said.

But Dr. Willeford said there are some instances where even those who are fully vaccinated may want to consider masking up.

“If you have a very weakened immune system for whatever reason and you’ve been fully vaccinated, that safest thing to do would be to keep your mask on. Just to give yoursself every line of protection that you can, because with a weak immune system you may not make as strong a response to the vaccine and may not have as much protection,” Dr. Willeford explained.

He said those with other health conditions like asthma, COPD, diabetes, and heart disease may also want to consider keeping a mask within reach.

“That’s going to give you the absolute maximum protection. If you’re in a condition where a hospitalization could really throw you for a loop, probably the safest thing to do is to keep that mask on hand,” Dr. Willeford said.

If you’re fully vaccinated and you develop COVID-like symptoms, Dr. Willeford said you should be tested in case you have a variant.

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