After nearly a year and a half of lockdowns and social distancing due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many countries are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as they gradually inch toward herd immunity. This is largely due to the successful rollout of COVID-19 vaccines that are helping to slow the spread of the virus and give communities some much-needed peace of mind.
But, how do COVID-19 vaccines work?
Though there are now a variety of COVID-19 vaccines on the market, they all work relatively similarly. The vaccines teach our bodies to produce antibodies that allow our immune system to fight any COVID-19 virus that we might encounter. This reduces our risk of catching COVID-19 and decreases the severity for those who do get infected.
However, even with the numerous vaccine options now available, it’s important to recognize that a percentage of the population will still not be vaccinated who choose not to be vaccinated. Whether it is for health, religious, or personal reasons, the reality remains that some of your community members will likely remain unvaccinated and vulnerable to the virus.
But now that more people are becoming vaccinated, the question is — should we still be wearing masks?
While the COVID-19 vaccines have been remarkably effective so far for those who have gotten fully vaccinated, researchers are still determining whether vaccinated people can transmit COVID-19 to other people. Though the vaccines may eliminate symptoms, it’s still unclear whether they completely prevent the virus from spreading.
Stanford University immunologist Michael Tal stressed that vaccinated people should keep wearing protective face masks, as there is still much research needed about how vaccinated people may spread the virus.
“A lot of people are thinking that once they get vaccinated, they’re not going to have to wear masks anymore,” said Tal. “It’s really going to be critical for them to know if they have to keep wearing masks because they could still be contagious.”
It’s also important to note that some countries will take longer to roll out vaccines than others. For instance, in the US — one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical producers —already vaccinated 65 percent of the population 18 and older have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, nations that have less developed pharmaceutical industries might have longer wait times as shipments and trade deals extend the procurement process.
Therefore, there are people out there that are not and will not be vaccinated for quite a while. Until the whole world reaches herd immunity and the most hard-hit countries such as India and Brazil are fully vaccinated, it’s dangerous to assume we are all fully protected.
Safety precautions are still very much needed to reduce community spread. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Kristin Englund of the Cleveland Clinic, discusses how face masks can play a crucial role in protecting ourselves against COVID-19.
“Face masks and physical distancing will need to continue into the foreseeable future,” explains Dr. Englund. “Unfortunately, getting vaccinated does not instantly mean we can go back to how life was before. Until we have some level of herd immunity, the vaccine is now just another layer of protection against COVID-19.”
This is especially true now that new variants and strains such as the Alpha, the UK variant, Beta, South African Variant, and Delta, the Indian variant, are introducing new variables and rendering some vaccines less effective.
The most concerning of these new strains is the Delta variant which reportedly causes more severe COVID-19 cases that are potentially more contagious. The Delta strain has been located in India, Southeast Asia, the UK, and the US, and it could pose a problem for countries that are struggling to contain community outbreaks and push vaccinations.
For all of these reasons, we all still need to continue to wear masks
This is especially true for people with respiratory or autoimmune disorders who rely on masks to keep themselves safe and healthy at all times. Many high-risk people may never be fully safe from the COVID-19, and it’s up to their community members to create an environment where they can be safe and protected.
As you consider whether to wear a mask after getting vaccinated, it’s important to choose a breathable mask option that keeps you fully protected from the virus while also not impeding your lifestyle.
Cambridge Masks takes your concern seriously and is committed to assisting in the fight against COVID-19 with our military-grade, reusable PRO-mask series, which filters more than 99 percent of what you breath — including pollen, bacteria, and viruses.
Our masks rely on a three-layer filtration technology, including a primary filtration layer, a three-ply micro-particulate filter, and a military-grade activated carbon filtration system. These layers help to trap gases, pollutants, viruses, and bacteria and can stop particulates as small as PM0.3. Our respirators are also certified under European respirator standard EN149 to FFP2 to help you breathe naturally and easily.
Additionally, each of our PRO masks are treated with silver and contain anti-viral properties that kill any and all viruses and bacteria that you may come into contact with. Plus, our masks are washable and reusable for 3-6 months, or up to 300 hours of continuous usage, making them an environmentally friendly, sustainable option for anyone looking to stay protected.
Whether you choose to wear a mask to protect yourself against the Coronavirus, pollution, or annual flu and hay fever threats, wearing a Cambridge Mask can protect you year-round and keep you safe and breathing easily.