Masks Will Exist Even After Covid-19 Vaccination - Here's Why
January 22 2021
With the arrival of 2021, the hope for the COVID-19 pandemic calming down with the new vaccines is a welcoming change. After a year of more than 1.73 million people dying globally, and over 78 million people getting infected, the mass vaccination programme has begun globally. Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old British grandmother, became the first person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 8.
Yet the outbreak of a unique, more contagious mutation of the virus getting detected in many parts of the UK, the country had to impose another lockdown and stricter restrictions. More than a million people have received the Pfizer vaccine with the USA having approved yet another vaccine manufactured by Moderna.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases commented that even with a 90-plus per cent effectiveness of the vaccine he recommends people not to abandon the other public health measures like masks.
Experts such as Dr Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor at McMaster University, commented that there is nothing in Pfizer’s data suggesting that people are less transmissible. The only aspect they are sure about is that individuals receiving the vaccination portrayed less symptomatic disease than the rest.
Wearing masks and social distancing will continue to be of importance, according to Dr Carl Fichtenbaum, who is helping lead trials on a second vaccine, developed by Moderna. Dr Susan R. Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, agreed on the same by adding that for the safety of the people around, it is crucial to continue wearing masks, washing hands, and physical distancing even after getting vaccinated.
One of the primary reasons for the continued reliance on masks even in 2021 is the slow rollout of the vaccines and lingering questions about COVID-19 transmission. Measures like covering your mouth and nose with copper-infused face masks for additional security, washing hands regularly, and maintaining social distancing should remain significant.
The new normal has masks and social distancing written all over it. Even after the vaccine rollout, there are numerous reasons why covering our faces would remain a prominent part of our lives outside the home. Some of those reasons include:
Vaccine rollout may take months to reach you
Keeping the vaccines frozen to retain their effectiveness is currently posing a huge logistical challenge. The cold chain required for the vaccine cannot reach the entire population overnight, so by the time each individual on the planet has received a vaccination, 2021 will likely be gone halfway.
You cannot differentiate the vaccinated population from the rest
While the officials handling the vaccine distribution will maintain this data, the rest of us will still be unaware. The current strategy adopted by countries is to prioritize high-risk groups over others. The ideal precaution then becomes continuing additional protection with masks.
The effectiveness of the vaccine remains unclear
Several factors will decide the effect of the vaccines. Be it the age or other underlying health conditions of individuals. A chance of catching the infection from the rest of the population is a possibility since the actual range of effectiveness of the licensed vaccines is 50% only.
The duration of vaccine protection is unknown
We don't know the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine, and we are still unsure of the requirement of follow-up shots in the future.
There are chances of re-infection
The arrival of the different strains of the virus has started to pose a risk of re-infection. With the UK going under a lockdown for the second time, there is more to the masks and hand washing that 2021 holds for us
The vaccine requires two injections
Complete protection requires a couple of weeks after the second shot, so by the time the entire population has received that, masks should remain an essential part of your things to carry every day when stepping out of the house.
Children won’t get the shots anytime soon
This does not mean that governments and healthcare professionals have forgotten your little ones. But they will have to wait until the data indicates and justifies that these vaccines are safe and equally effective for babies.
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