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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it is important to continue to follow current protection guidelines as experts learn more about the protectionsthe possibility that vaccinated people will continue to spread the disease and more about immunity and reinfection once someone has recovered from COVID-19.
Here’s what health experts and the CDC have to say about why you should keep wearing a mask and social distance.
The COVID-19 vaccine may not give you complete protection right away
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines come in two doses – the first shot starts building protection, while the second shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against the coronavirus, the CDC said.
The first shot has been, Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer of Wexner Medical Center at CNET. He said the second dose boosts protection and extends immunity life.
After you get the second shot, your body needs time to build up the protection it needs to fight off the virus. It can take up to two weeksto protect you from the coronavirus, the CDC said. During that time, it’s important to protect yourself and those around you by keeping your social distance and wearing a mask when you’re around people outside of your household.
You can still spread COVID-19 even after you have been vaccinated
Because the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine are both so new, there is not enough evidence at this point to know whether people can still carry the coronavirus pathogens and pass them on to others without becoming infected themselves.
“This gives the virus enough time to grow in the airways and spread the infection to others, while the body fights its own infection, helped by the vaccine,” said Dr. Gonsenhauser to CNET.
There is a lack of data showing whether a vaccinated person can spread the virus after becoming infected, and a person could potentially have a, he added.
“While the vaccine is very effective, there is still a small chance – 5 to 10% – that after someone is vaccinated they could become infected,” said Dr. Gonsenhauser. However, more data may become available as scientists and doctors learn more about the vaccine’s effects on COVID-19.
Until experts fully understand the protection that a COVID-19 vaccine provides, it’s important to continue to wear a mask and follow social distance protocols, the CDC says. This can help prevent the coronavirus from spreading to communities of people until a greater proportion of the population has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Wearing a mask “helps protect the vaccination,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research, on December 14 on a CBS radio provider. The CDC says wearing a face mask and getting vaccinated together provide the best protection against getting and spreading COVID-19.
There are still uncertainties about reinfection and ‘natural’ immunity
“The immune response, including the duration of immunity, to COVID-19 is not yet known,” the CDC says.
More research is needed to determine how likely you are to be reinfected, and the CDC says “it is not known what antibody levels are needed to protect against reinfection.”
The defenses the body gains against the virus during and after infection appears to fade relatively quickly, making it difficult to achieveaccording to Dr. William Haseltine, a former professor at Harvard Medical School known for his work on the human genome and HIV / AIDS, over a longer period of time.
“The bigger concern is that someone will become infected again with the same variant of COVID-19, not get sick themselves, but still be contagious to others. You can get infected twice and be asymptomatic the second time, and still carry it and pass it on to other, more vulnerable people around you, ”said John V. Williams, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh.
Few cases of this have occurred so far. In fact, reported cases of COVID-19 reinfection remain rare, according to the CDC. However, if COVID-19 is like other types of coronaviruses, such as the common cold, reinfection will become more common over time, Scientific American said.
Unvaccinated people may think it’s okay to stop wearing a mask
It will take months or more for enough of the population to be vaccinated to see the number of cases drop significantly. That’s why it’s important to keep wearing masks when you’re around people outside of your household.
“If people stop wearing their masks after vaccination, other people who are not vaccinated may start to think masks are no longer necessary,” said Dr. Gonsenhauser on social behavior. If those unvaccinated people have the virus, they can spread it more quickly by not wearing a mask.
According to a Vox survey first published in November, people in smaller groups are less likely to wear masks when together. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they do not wear a mask when attending a sit-down meeting.
“Masks are an important measure to suppress transmission and save lives,” said the World Health Organization. If 95% of the public wears a mask, tens of thousands of lives can be saved, according to an October study by Nature Medicine.
If many Americans refuse the vaccine, wearing a mask can help protect yourself
In spite of the, some Americans may avoid vaccination. Incorrect and other misinformation has falsely claimed that the vaccine will contain government tracking microchips or be forcibly administered by the military. This is not true.
Some may be mistakenly concerned that the vaccine was developed too quickly to be safe. Have both vaccines in the USand they have been proven to be 94% and 95% effective, well above the required 90% efficacy threshold.
While a vaccine won’t stop the pandemic completely, it is the direct route to it. However, to get there, more people will have to get the coronavirus vaccine. And due to a limited number of doses, not everyone can get the coronavirus vaccine at one time. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, you may wait until at least April to get the vaccine, if not later.
If a significant portion of the population refuses to take the vaccine, we are unlikely to see the number of new cases decline as quickly as we would like, says Dr. Gonsenhauser. He says he and other medical providers are doing everything they can to remind people– From bringing relatable and accessible information to communities that have various opposition to mistrust the vaccine, to help them make more informed decisions.
How long do I have to wear a mask and social distance? What has to happen?
Currently, there is insufficient information to determine if and when the majority of the population can safely stop wearing masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC says, but it will likely come down on the numbers.
When there are enough observable changes, such as dropping cases and the community threat levels plummeting. When that happens, medical experts can redefine the need to wear a mask. However, it could be well into 2021 before that happens.
“We should see a dramatic decrease in the number of new cases per 100,000 of the population after enough vaccines have been administered,” said Dr. Gonsenhauser.
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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.