Don’t shed those masks after your second COVID-19 vaccine dose, experts say

WASHINGTON — There’s a new prediction on how long we will have to wear face masks. Experts are warning that you shouldn’t shed them, even if you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The coronavirus vaccines in use right now require two doses, and experts say you should not let your guard down after the first dose.

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Experts believe the vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness and even death from the illness, but studies are still ongoing to determine how well the shots block the spread of the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s leading experts on infectious diseases, said it’s possible that we will still be wearing masks into 2022.

“You know, I think it is possible that that’s the case... because it depends on the level of dynamics of virus that’s in the community,” Fauci said.

At least for now, people who have been vaccinated should follow the same rules as everybody else about wearing a mask: staying six feet from others and avoiding crowds, even after they’ve gotten their second vaccine dose.

President Joe Biden’s administration continues to push mask-wearing.

Last month, the president signed an executive order mandating interstate travelers wear a mask and requiring masks on federal property.