Despite the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine and the slight drop in the number of infections, health experts are still advising people to continue wearing masks. Several health experts have suggested that the virus infection rate has to go down to a baseline so low that there will virtually be no threat.
But the question on most people’s minds is when they will stop wearing masks now that the vaccines are available. But although people are being vaccinated, numerous reasons might cause an extended use and buy online masks that are highlighted below.
Vaccination Might Take Longer
One of the main reasons for the extended use of face masks is that vaccination will take longer than expected. The full rollout of the vaccine to the whole U.S. cannot happen overnight, even with military assets’ support.
It is also essential to consider that vaccines are delicate and sometimes require a significant cold storage chain during storage and transportation. Some health experts claim that the Covid-19 vaccine requires it to be frozen to minus 80 degrees Celsius.
This presents a challenge for using a short period to vaccinate the whole country, and things are going back to normal. It has been speculated that it can take months or even the whole year because if not handled properly and with care, the vaccine will lose its effectiveness.
There will be Difficulty Identifying who has or hasn’t been Vaccinated
Many people are not sure yet if they want to be vaccinated due to previous speculations on the internet that the vaccine is not safe. As populations remain skeptical about the vaccine’s safety, it means that more people will not get it immediately.
It is also impossible to vaccinate a mass population simultaneously due to the amount of skilled human resources required. Most medical practitioners are busy attending to patients, and this presents a challenge for mass vaccination.
The medical practitioners available to administer the vaccinations will probably prioritize individual high-risk groups such as the elderly, who are more likely to die if infected with the virus. This will result in low-risk groups not getting vaccination immediately.
Lastly, it has been speculated that some of these vaccines require one or more boosters to ensure maximum protection, meaning that one might need to get another shot after a certain period. This means that you will not be able to know what vaccination schedule your neighbor or workmate is in and still need to protect yourself from infection.
All these factors mentioned here will affect the rate at which the vaccines will be administered and thus a prolonged face mask usage.
The Vaccine’s Effectiveness is yet to be Established
Various factors affect the effectiveness of vaccines, some being age, health condition, and sometimes even social, economic conditions. The FDA states that for the vaccine to be recognized as effective, it has to meet 50% effectiveness in a particular population of people.
A vaccine with 50% effectiveness is still not good news considering how viral Covid-19 spread. This means that if half the country agrees to be vaccinated and it is only effective on half of them, 3 out of 4 people around you might still be infected. This means that face mask use might be prolonged to prevent the spread.
There also lacks enough evidence on the level of protection the vaccines will provide, which further worsens the situation. An ideal vaccine should provide complete protection from the virus and reduce the chances of transmission. If in case the vaccine provides partial protection against contracting the virus, it means that people will have to remain cautious.
There is No Evidence of the Duration of Vaccine Protection
Because the government is trying to roll out the vaccine quickly, there hasn’t been actual data on its long-term protection. This is one reason why they are continuing to insist on the use of face masks.
It will probably take months or a year to establish the vaccine’s long-term effectiveness. Even if people initially have a good response from the vaccine, only time will determine if the initial administration’s boosters will maintain protection.
There are Chances of People Being Re-infected
Covid-19 caught us in surprise, and not much is known yet about this viral disease. But more recently, health experts have suggested possible re-infection of people that had initially recovered from the illness. It has been speculated that the re-infections were caused by being exposed to a new strain of the virus.
If there is a possible new strain of Covid-19, it means that exposure opportunities will increase if we stop using face masks or following other Covid-19 measures. The worst that could happen is the viral spread of the unknown strain, lockdowns, and mortality.
Still, the country is opening up, and people are starting to travel worldwide, which makes it necessary to stay safe by wearing a face mask to reduce exposure opportunities. If in case the virus is evolving over time, it means that the vaccine might prove to be ineffective.
Signals To Look Out For To Know We Are About To Remove The Masks
As mentioned earlier, no one really knows the actual time of the year when masks will be deemed inappropriate. This all relies on various factors. But to say the least, the real signal will be a sharp decline in the number of Covid-19 infections and a collective immunity of a population above 50%.
Once the health workers identify a consistent decline in new infections and deaths, it means they will be able to engage in other activities to stop the spread. For example, they can engage in vaccination of the remaining populations and jump on any new cases.
Health experts, however, speculate that it will take time to take the masks off even with the available vaccines. How fast we get there will depend on a few factors. First is the number of people that will get vaccinated, second is how effective the vaccines will be, and lastly, how well people will follow the set Covid-19 measures before we get there.