The World Health Organization urges fully vaccinated people to continue to mask up, practice social distancing, and continue to implement other COVID-19 safety measures with the highly contagious delta variant rapidly spreading.
“People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves,” said WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products Dr. Mariangela Simao during a press briefing from the agency’s Geneva headquarters.
“Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission,” she added. “People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, hand hygiene … the physical distance, avoid crowding. This still continues to be extremely important, even if you’re vaccinated when you have a community transmission ongoing.”
WHO officials would like fully vaccinated people to continue with coronavirus protocols, according to CNBC. Officials reason it’s because a large portion of Europe remains unvaccinated, and highly contagious variants, like delta, are spreading rapidly.
Even the vaccinated run the risk of becoming infected with a variant. For example, about half of the adults recently infected in an outbreak of delta outbreak in Israel were vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. This prompted government officials to restore mask requirements and other COVID-19 protocols.
The WHO announced last week that the delta variant is quickly becoming the dominant strain of the virus. It was first found in India and has since spread to at least 92 countries. It’s predicted the delta will become the dominant strain in the United States within the next few weeks. Unvaccinated Americans are especially at risk. And while the vaccine will not stop community transmission, it will help lessen the severity of the symptoms and the risk of dying.