We’re eagerly awaiting our turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccination drive in many countries including Israel, Bhutan, US, UK, Seychelles and Maldives is in full force. Over 825 million doses have been administered globally. The progress can be tracked at Our World in Data, a project at Oxford University. The data is compiled with information from government sources.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine include developing immunity, which will mean there is a reduced risk of being infected. It may also help in protecting people around you if you have the virus. For the vaccines that require two doses, both the shots are required to be taken to achieve the best possible immunity level. For the single-shot vaccine, it takes approximately two weeks to develop immunity.

With many now fully vaccinated, there are some questions frequently being asked. Can we stop wearing a mask? Is travelling okay now? Is it okay to meet people?

covid-19 vaccine
(Image: Helloimnik/ Unsplash)

WHO says, “While a COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from serious illness and death, we still don’t know the extent to which it keeps you from being infected and passing the virus on to others.”

The organisation suggests that if you are fully vaccinated, you should continue to maintain at least one metre distance from others, cough or sneeze in your elbow, wear a mask (especially in closed, crowded or poorly ventilated areas) and wash your hands frequently.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that you should still avoid medium or large gatherings. Keep a watch out for COVID-like symptoms if you’ve been around someone sick, and get tested and isolate if you do any symptoms.

The specific guidelines are, “You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart.”

covid-19 vaccine health passports
(Image: Hakan Nural/ Unsplash)

If you want to meet people who are yet to get their shot, the CDC advises that “You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying six feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.”

Many countries are slowly opening their borders for fully vaccinated tourists from selected countries and some don’t even want them to quarantine or submit a negative RT-PCR test. The CDC’s guidelines for Americans say that they can travel internationally without a pre-travel test, depending on destination, and don’t need to quarantine after returning.

Our suggestion: check the guidance provided by authorities in your country and the destination you are planning to visit.

More information about the vaccines and other COVID-19 related queries can be found on the websites of WHO and the CDC.

This story first appeared on Prestige Malaysia

(Main image and featured images: Hakan Nural/ Unsplash)

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