Why you should wear a mask even after getting vaccinated

Stay safe while experts learn more about how vaccine helps prevent COVID-19 spread

Cafe barista and mature woman are masked at the cash register

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are among the most effective on the market to prevent us from getting COVID-19. What we’re still learning is if those vaccines will keep us from spreading the virus to someone else.

Sanford Health chief physician Jeremy Cauwels, M.D., strongly encourages those basic safety precautions to help us continue preventing transmission of the virus.

“Being vaccinated protects you from severity of illness, possibly from getting infected, but certainly from getting severe COVID-19 disease,” Dr. Cauwels explains.

Watch: Dr. Cauwels addresses vaccine safety, efficacy during Facebook Live Q&A, Jan. 5

“But what (a vaccination) doesn’t do is coat you in a layer of plastic wrap. It doesn’t keep you from ever touching the virus. So, if you inhale it, there is still the possibility that you could sneeze it at somebody else. While we’re working through that and while we’re decreasing the number of people that can carry that virus by giving the vaccine, it’s still important to protect yourself and to protect the other people you love.”

‘Shots in arms end a pandemic’

Getting people vaccinated will help us get closer to ending the pandemic, Dr. Cauwels said.

“If you ask me what things look like a year from now, I can say — at that point — we may be vaccinated to where we can talk about less masking and less restrictions and that sort of thing. In order to do that, we have to vaccinate a very substantial portion of our population. Until then, it’s important to recognize that the presence of a vaccine doesn’t end a pandemic; the number of shots we get in arms ends a pandemic.

“It is important for us to move from celebrating having a vaccine and to the hard work of getting the vaccine to the people.”

The big goal is to have 80% of the population vaccinated.

“As you can see from very infectious, pediatric diseases like measles … when we get up into the 90% range of vaccinated school children, we effectively eliminate measles from transmitting in school systems. So, getting to those kind of numbers will be the type of things that will truly end a pandemic.”

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Posted In Coronavirus, Expert Q&A, Frequently Asked Questions, Immunizations

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