The COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, including against the delta variant. If you are fully vaccinated, you have a very low risk of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. (Read more for messaging guidance on what it means to be “fully vaccinated.”) However, much of the nation continues to see substantial and high transmission of COVID-19, and in these areas, the CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wears a mask in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the virus.
There are a few other places where everyone should wear a mask, regardless of whether they are vaccinated: health care settings, public transportation, planes, shelters, K-12 schools, and correctional facilities. Regardless of vaccination status, people should follow local regulations and the requirements of businesses, workplaces, and schools — which may require masks.
While COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, no vaccine provides 100% immunity. Data show that a small percent of vaccinated people can be infected by the delta variant in a breakthrough infection and transmit their infection to others. Fully vaccinated individuals may make the personal decision to continue to wear a mask based on their own risk assessment and preference. Those with certain medical conditions or who are immunosuppressed should consult their physicians regarding mask-wearing and other protective measures.
Updated October 12, 2021