You’ll still need to wear a mask after getting a covid vaccine – Here's why

  • 19 Dec - 25 Dec, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

The news surrounding covid-19 vaccine developments has been better than expected, with products from Pfizer and Moderna found to be around 95 per cent effective in preventing infection in clinical trials. And while the vaccines are a vital step toward ending the pandemic – and one that is desperately needed, health experts are cautioning that safety precautions like social distancing and mask-wearing won't end just yet. And even those who receive a covid-19 vaccine should continue wearing a mask for most of 2021. “Obviously, with a 90-plus per cent effective vaccine, you could feel much more confident” about not getting the virus, Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said. “But I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you have been vaccinated.” Then there’s the lingering question of whether vaccinated people can carry the virus without getting sick, but still transmit it – similar to asymptomatic cases. Respiratory infections, including covid-19, typically produce antibodies that will immediately shut down the virus from infecting a person again. Vaccines, on the other hand, are injected into the body and then work to create antibodies, so there can sometimes be a delay between immunisation and when the antibodies become effective in fighting the virus. That gap means there's a period when a person with the vaccine could become infected, or could take in the virus and pass it to others. And the other issue is that the vaccine is not 100 per cent effective – Pfizer’s vaccine has around five per cent potential for infection.