Get a COVID-19 vaccine and you will be advised to continue to wear a mask and stay away from other people. So, what is it for?
There is an immediate benefit to the person who receives a vaccine, said Andy Slavitt, senior White House adviser on the response to COVID-19. “People are interested in taking the vaccine,” he told a press conference on Monday, because “they don’t want to be sick and they don’t want to die”.
Getting two injections of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces an individual’s risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by about 95%, according to large research trials.
But life will not return to something normal for society at large until national infection rates drop further, according to Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, and Dr Rochelle Walensky. , head of the Centers for Disease. Control and prevention.
Even though infection and hospitalization rates have dropped sharply from their peak around Jan.10, rates are still too high, Walensky said, staying above levels from the previous high last summer. About 66,000 people are infected with COVID-19 every day in the United States.
“There are things, even if you are vaccinated, that you will not be able to do in society, for example, eating indoors, theaters, (going) to places where people congregate,” he said. declared Fauci.
It is also possible, although research increasingly suggests that it is unlikely, that people vaccinated can still transmit the virus, even if they do not become ill themselves. “For this reason, we want to make sure that people continue to wear masks despite being vaccinated,” Fauci said.
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The CDC is still working on what’s safe and what’s not for those who are vaccinated.
Walensky said the agency concluded that “if you have been exposed and have been fully vaccinated – two doses – there is no longer a need to quarantine after being exposed.”
Dr Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, said his behavior has changed since receiving his two vaccines.
“As someone who has been vaccinated, I really feel different,” Offit said, “although I might be one of the 20 who are unprotected”.
Offit agrees that it is still not safe for those vaccinated to come out en masse, as infection rates remain so high.
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It’s not clear, he said, what the threshold should be for people to let go of their guards – and masks -. But we’ll get there relatively soon, he said.
“I think the numbers will get better and better,” Offit said.
Most likely, Offit said, virus levels will now drop throughout the summer and then rise again as temperatures drop.
The rooms he works in are usually full at this time of year with children battling the flu or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), seasonal respiratory viruses, which have almost completely shut down due to masking and estrangement. .
So maybe, Offit said, we’ll want to wear masks every winter to protect ourselves and our loved ones from all kinds of respiratory viruses.
Contact Karen Weintraub at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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