Hundreds of millions of people have been waiting for COVID-19 vaccines. Now they are being distributed, albeit more slowly than desired. Once vaccinated, many people would like to believe their COVID nightmare will be over. They can go to stores, eat at a restaurant or visit friends without a face mask. Not so fast. This reader wants to know why anyone would need to wear a mask after COVID vaccination.
Q. I read an article that stated even after getting the vaccine you will need to wear a face mask so as not to spread COVID-19. I don’t understand this. Can you explain?
A. Both of the current mRNA vaccines have demonstrated that they can prevent serious illness from the coronavirus. In the clinical trials most people who received a vaccine did not get sick.
The vaccine might not keep the virus from entering your body, but it should keep you from developing symptoms. You can’t catch the virus from the vaccine.
After COVID Vaccination Masks Matter:
Some people who are immunized might still become infected with the virus. Remember, vaccination is designed to stimulate a robust immune reaction. They are not a magic bubble to prevent infection. It is possible that some people could become infected and be infectious without symptoms.
We know that asymptomatic spread is quite common. The vaccine trials were not designed to rule out the possibility of asymptomatic transmission of the virus.
Dr. Fauci on Face Masks After COVID Vaccination:
Dr. Anthony Fauci described the environment after COVID vaccination during an interview on CNN (Nov. 16, 2020):
“’It’s not going to be a light switch”
“‘Obviously, with a 90-plus percent effective vaccine, you could feel much more confident’ about not getting the virus, Fauci told Tapper. ‘But I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you have been vaccinated.’ Those fundamentals include: universal wearing of masks, maintaining physical distance, avoiding large crowds, doing more outdoor activities and washing hands frequently.”
That’s why even after getting a vaccine to protect yourself, you should still wear a mask to prevent the spread of the virus to others.
The “Coronavirus Hunter” Provides More Details:
Dr. Ralph Baric is known as the “coronavirus hunter.” That’s because he has been studying this class of viruses for more than 30 years. Long before anyone had heard of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Dr. Baric was trying to understand how such viruses were transmitted. He also was trying to discover effective antiviral treatments. We have been able to interview Dr. Baric three times over the last several months on our syndicated public radio show.
During our most recent interview with Dr. Baric, he explains in greater detail than we can here why people will need to continue wearing face masks after COVID vaccination. Here is a link to the podcast. He will bring you up up-to-date on the pandemic.
You will learn about the latest antiviral treatments against COVID-19. Dr. Baric will provide the inside story on EIDD-2801, an experimental medicine in clinical trials. You will also find out how viral mutations may affect transmission.
Once enough people are vaccinated and herd immunity is taking hold, face masks will become less important. We hope that day will come sooner rather than later.