With vaccines finally being distributed across the country, many Americans are eager to stop wearing masks and return to normal life. Some may be tempted to rush out to see friends and family, even after receiving just the first dose. Remember, the vaccine does not produce antibodies until approximately two weeks after being received.
But even after completing both doses, experts agree – and the CDC recommends – that wearing masks will continue to be one of the crucial methods of staying well and protecting others amidst the pandemic.
So before you ditch that mask, read up on a few of the important reasons why we all need to continue to mask up:
- The vaccine is not 100% effective. With impressive efficacy rates of 94-95%, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will protect the majority of the population. However, at that rate, it means that as many as 5 in every 100 people will still be at risk for infection.
- It’s not clear if the vaccine prevents transmission. Again, while the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have both been proven in clinical trials to prevent symptoms in the recipient, it is still unknown how effective they are at protecting against virus transmission. For those who have been vaccinated, wearing a mask is the best way to protect those around them.
- Masks are a critical source of protection for people with underlying health issues. The approved vaccines have shown to be overwhelmingly successful for the general population. However, for the few cancer patients enrolled in trials, the effectiveness dipped to 76%. Others with certain underlying health issues or compromised immune systems may not even be candidates for the vaccine. Masks, worn both by the at-risk population, as well as by those with whom they are in contact, may be their only source of protection.
- New strains of the virus continue to emerge. Current vaccines may provide some protection against new strains, but it has not been determined how effective they are today or will be as the virus continues to mutate over time. Masks are critical in protecting against infection and transmission of these new strains.
“You really need to continue to mask and be distanced, because until a lot more people have gotten vaccinated and the pandemic surge simmers down, it’s not going to be safe to act as if you’re fully immune, fully protected. You just don’t know,” Dora Mills, M.D., Maine Health’s Chief Improvement Officer, said.
At Naborforce, even though our Nabors are in the process of getting vaccinated, we will continue to strictly adhere to recommended protocols, including masks and social distancing. We are committed to the health and safety of seniors and our community —all while continuing to spread joy.