The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reversed a previous directive from April and now says people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine should wear masks in public indoor spaces in parts of the U.S. where the pademic is spreading again. That would include many parts of North Carolina. 

A Novant Health spokesperson released the following statement on the behalf of the health care system: 

"We know that masking greatly helps reduce the risk of contracting, and spreading, COVID-19, which is why we continue to require universal masking across Novant Health facilities regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.

When the CDC relaxed its guidelines for vaccinated individuals, community spread was down and the Delta variant was not the dominant strain. We supported their decision then, and we support their decision now with variant cases on the rise.

It’s important to keep in mind that no vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 and the virus can break through. Fortunately, these breakthrough cases are mild, and this is demonstrated by the fact over 90% of our COVID-19 patients today are unvaccinated.

The CDC’s recommendation should send a strong signal to all of our communities that the Delta variant is a real threat and must be taken seriously.

The only way we are going to get out of this pandemic and go back to living our lives without masks is for everyone to get the vaccine. If you don’t get vaccinated for the health and safety of you and your loved ones, get vaccinated for your neighbors and communities. We’re all ready to put the masks away."

DO continue to social distance

We do know that you can carry and transmit the virus – even if you've been vaccinated. You may not feel sick or have symptoms, but you can still be an asymptomatic carrier. Because of that, you could be a risk to other people who aren't vaccinated. This is why we continue to ask most people to social distance and avoid indoor crowds.

In addition to possibly being a carrier, there is still about a 5% chance a vaccinated person could contract COVID-19. If the incidence of disease is high enough, which we’re seeing with COVID-19, that 5% could add up to a lot of people.

 

Get the vaccine 

Act now

DO get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

Getting only one dose of the vaccine is about 50% effective, so it’s important to get both doses to be better protected. Keep in mind that it takes two weeks after the second dose to reach 95% efficacy.

Also, if you receive the first dose, you have the advantage of being reserved a spot for a second dose and that’s a luxury. People are clamoring for those spots. So, if you’re going to embark on this process of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, let's go ahead and do it the right way.

DO anticipate side effects

Expected effects after receiving the vaccine include low-grade fever, chills, fatigue, headache and pain or swelling in the arm where you got the shot. It may feel like the flu or even affect your ability to do daily activities, but the effects are short-lived and, most importantly, normal signs the body is building protection to the virus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Some say the anticipated effects are more robust after receiving the second dose. Just know it’s not something to be scared of. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce pain or discomfort.

DO exercise caution when you travel

One of my concerns with traveling has been that it’s highly likely for you to catch something because you're around so many different people in an airport or an airplane. However, once you’ve received both COVID-19 vaccines, you’re pretty well protected and you can feel safer about traveling. Even so, people are still encouraged to practice social distancing as best they can, while also wearing a mask anytime they are not eating or drinking.