NewsHealth Insider


Can you ditch the mask once you get the COVID-19 vaccine? Doctor says safety behavior shouldn't change

Virus Outbreak Wisconsin
Posted at 4:27 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 08:37:29-05

The mission of ABC15's Health Insider series is to dive deeper into the things impacting your health and the health of those around you. We're going in-depth with expert advice from people who know it, see it every day in their work and study it. Have a story idea? Contact the team at

As millions of people across Arizona and the country wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine, slowly but surely, we are seeing more glimmers of hope.

But if you're thinking it will be like a light switch and everything will go back to normal once you get that shot, think again.

ABC15's Nick Ciletti spoke with Dr. Piyush Gupta with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona who is also volunteering to help administer the vaccine.

Once someone is vaccinated, does that mean they can go out in public without a mask? Does that mean they can hang around members of their family who don't live in their home?

"This is really important from a public health perspective. Your behavior doesn't change," Dr. Gupta said. "I'm vaccinated. I'm lucky. I got both of my shots but my behavior doesn't change with how I interact with the public or how I interact at home with other members I don't live with. I'm still wearing the mask. I'm still social distancing."

But why is that? Well, there are a few reasons.

The main one: we aren't quite sure yet if a vaccinated person could still be a COVID-carrier and pass the virus along to someone else.

"We don't know that we're not going to spread it. We know you won't catch it, but...the trials haven't said can you spread it to someone else who isn't vaccinated, so that why it's important," Dr. Gupta said.

So think of keeping that mask on and social distancing as something selfless. It's less about you and more about someone else.