What you can and cannot do after COVID-19 vaccination. Here are the views of experts

The COVID-19 vaccines did not only bring hopes of survival against the deadly coronavirus but also the expectation of life returning to normalcy, at least in the shortest possible time.

The games, the family reunion, work friends and schoolmates had been missed. Many had developed Zoom fatigue due to the continuous stay online to carry out activities which hitherto COVID-19 would have been conducted in-person. These motivations have contributed to many people receiving the jabs.

Many experts, however, say those who have gotten the jabs must navigate the decision to resume their usual activities with some tact.

What to do and what not to do have been summarily put together to help in your decision-making process in this piece.

Where can I travel to?

You may travel, stay at hotels or restaurants as long as you are following the safety protocols says Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

You should be cautious of people who are yet to be vaccinated, as much as you would, in a high transmission area, particularly areas with high crowds.

 What activities am I permitted to engage in?

Vaccinated people are free to do indoor activities where safety protocols are observed- fully masked and distanced says Dr Paul E. Sax, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Nothing is 100% effective but “gathering with other vaccinated people is pretty darn close,” he says.

He, however, advised people not to lose their guard at events such as bars and houses of worship where people are singing and talking.

“I don’t think people should run to a crowded bar where people are shouting at each other,” he says. “But the kind of socialising that is part of human nature and that has been put on hold for a lot of people—that can resume,” he said.

The larger the group, the riskier the interaction, experts note, adding that it’s because you can’t verify that everyone is vaccinated and you don’t know what their exposures are.

Can I attend to my medical schedules after vaccination?

Dr Wen of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. advised that those who have put their medical and health appointments on hold are free to resume as vaccinated people are largely protected.

With kids not vaccinated, are we safe?

Many families are still uncertain what the future holds for them as children under the age of 16 are yet to have the clearance to be vaccinated in most countries.

 “This is going to be one of those issues that families are going to have to grapple with and be prudent about,” says Dr Chris Beyrer, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The CDC guidelines say people who are fully vaccinated can visit indoors with one other unvaccinated household without wearing masks or maintaining social distance if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe.

Studies have shown that vaccination reduced asymptomatic infection by more than 80% when compared to unvaccinated individuals.

After vaccination, nasal viral loads which are responsible for virus entry into the human body are low and potentially non-infectious, says Dr Monica Gandhi an infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

 But other experts say the evidence is preliminary and more conclusive evidence is needed.

The Ghana Health Service said though one may be fully vaccinated, they should keep on observing all the safety protocols until herd immunity is achieved.

We are not out of the woods yet until we are out, experts have said.

This report is produced under the project: COVID-19 Response in Africa: Together for Reliable Information being implemented with funding support from the European Union.

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