Many countries like India, UK, Germany and others have been working tirelessly to launch COVID vaccine and had finally rolled out the same sometime back. The public though is under the impression that getting vaccinated will give them complete immunity against the virus and that everything will come back to normal. Unfortunately, that is not the reality. As per the scientists, immunologists and doctors worldwide, the need for wearing masks is not going away in the foreseeable future.
Firstly, it is rare that any vaccine can provide 100% efficacy. Secondly, it takes two doses of Coronavirus vaccine to provide up to 95% immunity, so we realize that the effect is not immediate. Thirdly, asymptomatic transmitters account to 50% cases of COVID infections as per a research study.
How does any vaccine for COVID work?
1: The coronavirus vaccine gets deeply injected into your tissues.
2: Antibodies are formed by the vaccine to fight with the virus.
3: Few of the antibodies travel to the other parts of your body.
4: If you are around air particles containing the virus without a mask, the virus might enter the system through the respiratory tract.
5: Your body may not have generated enough antibodies in the nasal area.
6: So the virus may stay alive and travel to other areas of your body.
7: Antibodies in other areas of your body will kill them, so you won’t develop symptoms of COVID despite the multiplication of virus in your nose.
8: When you exhale or sneeze, the virus in your nose will end up infecting people around you.
So you could be highly contagious despite being vaccinated. Needless to say, the person you infect will further end up infecting several others thereby making you an unintentional and unidentified active player in spreading the deadly coronavirus in your community. So it is imperative to motivate each other to wear masks at all times, maintain social distance and wash or sanitize hands frequently.
Moreover, few of the new generations of the coronavirus are known to have higher transmission percentage. Like the original version, these too enter from the nasal passage and the vaccine is not fool-proof in this case as well because the nose and the throat are lesser accessible to the circulating antibodies than the lungs making it tougher to safeguard the nose and the throat. Furthermore, the longevity of the effect of the vaccine is not yet confirmed. Though rare, but there have been cases of people getting re-infected after already getting cured of the virus once. Continuing to wear mask is therefore more of a risk mitigation strategy while letting the vaccine act as just an extra layer to prevent the infection until the world experiences herd immunity against the virus. However, vaccination needs to reach to at least 50% to 80% of the population for us to reach herd immunity.
To sum up, we would need to continue wearing mask for following reasons even if we get ourselves vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The effect of vaccine is not instant.
- Two doses provide 95% immunity, which leaves a good 5% chance of contracting the infection.
- Vaccinated individuals are silent asymptomatic spreaders of the virus.
- People with already low immunity levels who cannot be vaccinated would continue needing extra protection even from vaccinated individuals.
- We are not sure of the vaccine’s effectiveness to the upcoming new variants.