COVID-19 is a global problem that medical professionals and government officials have been trying to control for the sake of the general population’s health and livelihood. The initial efforts were implementing the policies and requests for wearing masks and other protective gear that would minimize the risk of infection and transition. However, the development of vaccines has drastically decreased the risk of being infected. This is the reason why many individuals chose to opt for the vaccination option to be able to be safe. Despite the efforts of medical professionals to vaccinate as many individuals as possible, wearing a mask is still mandatory in many institutions. People who are not at risk of being infected still have to follow precautionary measures, although the topic is highly debatable. There is a high request for certain preventative measures to be abolished at organizational levels for individuals who are vaccinated and can provide proof of that. Data shows that being infected or transmitting the virus is significantly harder for vaccinated portions of the population regardless of contact time. Based on the evidence, masks should not be required for vaccinated people in workplaces, stores, and the street because they become useless.
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Wearing a mask is not a necessity for people who were vaccinated because they are not at risk of being infected. According to Shiver (2021), vaccination causes the body to build antibodies that can efficiently fight off any source of infection. This suggests that risk factors are not hazards if one’s immune system has the mechanisms required for the condition to be combated. Since the vaccine is designed to add a layer of protection against COVID-19, people who are vaccinated can safely avoid using other protective measures such as wearing masks. The main argument for wearing one is to be protected from the virus, which is already not a concern after the required vaccines.
The counterargument may suggest that vaccination is not an objective reason to refuse to wear masks since, despite the acquired immunity, a person can remain a carrier of the virus and transmit it further. However, the rate of transmission from vaccinated individuals is much lower. The original goal of policies regarding masks is to minimize the number of infections and not to combat the disease altogether. While there may be cases of transmissions from a vaccinated person, the rate will be low, and eliminating the spread is only possible with mass vaccination. This addresses the counterargument and makes it invalid.
While vaccines have not been implemented for 100% of the population, more and more people are choosing this option every single day. Certain people are not yet ready to take the vaccines, or their health conditions do not allow them to resort to this option, but vaccinating the majority of the population is more than enough. According to Adjiodah, the vaccination rate has grown substantially, which is a good factor in the acquisition of herd immunity (2021). If a substantial portion of individuals becomes immune to COVID-19, the transmission of the virus from person to person will become highly unlikely. Even people who are not protected by antibodies, as a result, will be less at risk due to herd immunity, which is another argument for the mass vaccination campaign.
While herd immunity is the critical factor that may combat the effects of COVID-19, one may argue that wearing protective measures such as masks is a tool that helps prevent the spread of a virus. However, the most efficient way to prevent the spread is still vaccination, while masks are proven to be less effective. Furthermore, individuals who will not be wearing masks will be initially cleared out by the HR department as vaccinated. This suggests that protection and prevention are still present if one is without a mask because that person prevents the spread of COVID-19 by taking the vaccine.
Policymakers Trust Vaccines
The implementations of new guidelines, such as not requiring a mask, have to be pursued on organizational and authoritative levels. West argues that most healthcare managers and policymakers agree that while masks are helpful as preventative measures, vaccination is the most reliable tool for protection (2021). Furthermore, even individuals who are closely tied to making decisions in terms of COVID-19 prevention cannot disagree that vaccines are not only helpful but also, undeniably, the closest solutions to the eradication of the virus. This being said, if policymakers agree vaccines are safe and valuable, they should revolutionize their organizational policies and safety measures by not requiring the employees to wear masks.
A possible counterargument is a suggestion that policymakers are willing to switch to less restrictive measures for reasons other than the evidence of vaccines being the solution. The general population has been following guidelines, including mask wearing for a long time, which causes the individuals to feel fatigued and overpowered by prolonged measures. This is why policymakers are trying to make specific changes. However, as West argues, managers agree that vaccines are the most reliable sources of prevention (2021). Since policymakers agree with this statement, suggesting that reforms regarding such implementations have a different overview and goal is redundant.
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Reforms on Mask Policies
While the effects of the virus are mitigated and somewhat controlled, many individuals are still eager to take extra measures to protect themselves. Experience shows that while some people are against wearing a mask and do not conform to the policies, especially if they have been vaccinated, others tend to be cautious. However, the personal choices and opinions of certain people cannot be a foundation for policymakers and managers who want to protect the employees. It is not an argument against individuals who are willingly wearing protective measures if they believe this is beneficial for them. The only concern is the policies themselves, which should not restrict vaccinated people from having a choice regarding masks. Moreover, the wear of masks has to be optional but not mandatory.
A possible counterargument suggests a different agenda for the act of wearing a mask. It may be argued that a mask is a visible preventive measure that reassures one’s social respect and consideration for other people’s needs. However, the best form of social respect is still vaccination. It is a solution that prevents not only the transmission but also the infection itself. It is helpful for the vaccinated individuals and the people around them, making it the ultimate form of social respect, unlike wearing masks.
The HR departments are often the policymakers regarding the safety of the employees. If they were to create an environment where wearing a mask is optional and depends on the individual’s wishes, further information would be needed. Implementing mask-wearing policies for unvaccinated individuals is crucial, but the same measure is not necessary for employees who have been vaccinated. Managers can only attest if one was vaccinated or not by reviewing the passport/certificate handed after the final vaccine. The HR department already has the means to check the vaccinal status of an employee, which makes it easier for them to decide on further measures. Proving the vaccinated status is crucial when it comes to avoiding other protective measures in public and professional spaces, and HR managers can review it to further allow more freedom regarding wearing masks.
After reviewing credible sources and evidence regarding COVID-19 measures of prevention and transmission, it is clear that masks should not be mandatory for individuals who are vaccinated. People who chose vaccines as their main preventative measures have antibodies that do not allow the person to be infected and are more likely to contribute to herd immunity. Moreover, HR managers and policymakers agree with the statement that vaccines are reliable sources of protection, which suggests that masks are secondary measures. Such specialists have access to data regarding the status of the employees, which allows them to choose the ones that can pursue their daily tasks without wearing medical masks. While there are counterarguments that argue masks still have to be mandatory, they can be rebutted. Evidence shows that vaccinated individuals should not be required to wear masks because it is unlikely they contribute to the spread of the virus or make the situation worse by choosing to avoid specific preventative measures.
Adjodah, D., Dinakar, K., Chinazzi, M., Fraiberger, S. P., Pentland, A., & Bates, S. (2021). Association between COVID-19 outcomes and mask mandates, adherence, and attitudes. PLOS ONE, 16(6). doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252315
Shriver, L. (2021). It’s time to face the truth about masks. Spectator, 346(10056), 23.
West, G. M. (2021). COVID-19 mask mandates are again at center of political battles. The Wall Street Journal. Web.