More than 24 million doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered across 41 countries, whilst global numbers of cases are still on the rise.
With the new strain carrying a higher transmission percentage, it has become apparent not only to us but to many others, that the only way to stop a pandemic is to utilise all the tools available.
One of which is the variations of COVID vaccines.
But the question on everyone's tongue is; will this vaccine make me immune?
According to Michael Tal, an immunologist at Stanford University, many people believe that once they are vaccinated, they no longer need to wear masks due to being immune. This, is actually incorrect, as Tal continues to state that;
“It’s really going to be critical for them to know they have to keep wearing masks because they could still be contagious.”
What does this really mean?
With the new vaccines rolling out, we have to have a solid understanding that it’s rare for any vaccine to have 100% efficacy.
In early November Pfizer shared that its two-dose vaccine was more than 90% effective in keeping 43,538 people in phase 3 clinical trials safe from COVID-19 infection. Along with Moderna’s clinical trial where the company’s vaccine was 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection in those who received two doses, with more than 30,000 people in the U.S. enrolled in the trial.
With each vaccine requiring two shots for maximum protection, the second jab is the one that encourages our immune response to become stronger. Thus showing that protection from a vaccine doesn't happen instantaneously, and not at 100% either.
Where does this leave us after the COVID vaccine?
With the world adapting to our new normal, it’s vital to encourage each other to continue to wear a mask, socially distance and sanitise.
Without even realising, many of us can be an asymptomatic spreader, or in other words a silent spreader. Research has suggested that approximately up to 50% of COVID-19 transmission is due to people who are infected but have no symptoms of the virus.
This means you can still be carrying it, even after a vaccine, whilst still risking the spread of the virus if you are not adhering to CDC guidelines.
How you may ask?
With most respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the nose is the main port of entry, this being where the virus will rapidly multiply, and take hold throughout the body in various ways and symptoms.
When we build antibodies to a virus and come into contact with the same virus for the second time, our bodies understand how to fight it off before it takes effect, similar to when we are vaccinated. But what we don’t realise is that the virus, that has entered the nostrils and mucosa, will leave the body immediately.
There is still a large risk that we can transmit through sneezing, coughing or breathing out, when around other people.
So how can we best protect ourselves & others?
Whilst there is not enough information currently available to say if or when the CDC will stop recommending people to wear masks and avoid close contact with others, it’s safe to say that to utilise all tools available, we should continue to abide by these rules.
With experts needing more time to understand how best the COVID vaccine will protect the population whilst it’s being rolled out, we should continue to wear masks, socially distance and keep our hands sanitised.
With a long waiting list for many of us to receive the vaccine, we must continue to implement the CDC guidelines, whilst also educating ourselves on how best to lower the spread of COVID-19.
So until further research has been released, and we’ve all been vaccinated not once but twice, here are our top 3 tips to keep each other safe;
Buy yourself a certified fitted mask!
And by this, we mean a mask that will not only protect you but protect those around you; take a look at our favourites here.
We know that the past year has been incredibly hard, staying away from loved ones, friends, socialising & more. But to lower the spread, we have to keep our distance until it is safe to do so.
Wash Your Hands!
Keeping our hands sanitised often should have been something we were doing a long time ago, but now more than ever keep your hands clean and free of bacteria, especially if you have to be out and about.
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