Why masks matter even after COVID-19 vaccination

Special Reports

Overcoming COVID: A Peek into the Future

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — Infectious disease expert, Dr. Williams Schaffner, believes vaccines are the answer to returning to a pre-COVID normal.

“I hope when their turn comes, everybody rolls up their sleeve and gets in line,”  Dr. Schaffner said.

However, there are lingering questions about how much protection the shots will actually provide. 

“We’re not entirely sure if the vaccine prevents our being contagious to others. That’s still a possibility. We think not, but the final data isn’t in,” explained Dr. Schaffner.

While it’s proven the vaccine helps lessen symptoms caused by the virus, spreading SARS-CoV-2 is still a major concern for health professionals. 

“In general, the more the virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to mutate,” explained Dr. Schaffner.

Take the new B.1.1.7 variant, for example, it’s more contagious. Thankfully, it appears the vaccine is still effective against this new strain, but we may not be as lucky in the future.

“The more quickly we can reduce the transmission of this virus, it will spare ourselves from disease, and it will also reduce the risk that a new mutation crops up,” Dr. Schaffner said.

Dr. Schaffner said a new resistant mutation could knock us back to square one overnight. That would force scientists to create a new vaccine all over again. The good news, we have all the tools at our disposal to stop this from happening. 

“Science says wearing the mask really works,” Dr. Schaffner emphasized. He added following the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even after receiving the vaccine, will further protect us all. 

“Let’s all stay with the program. Do the best we can. Wait for the all-clear signal. It’s going to take a while,” exclaimed Dr. Schaffner. “Hang in there.” 

We can do this together, if we set our sights on a COVID-free future.

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