Why we still need masks as COVID-19 vaccinations increase

Some may start to question why they should get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first place if they still need to mask up and social distance.
Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 3:14 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - While thousands complete their COVID-19 vaccine series on a daily basis, experts say they should still follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

Since the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine entered Wisconsin two months ago, there’s been a push to get them into people’s arms.

“We are all safer and closer to statewide recovery when shots get into the arms of Wisconsinites,” said Gov. Tony Evers in a health briefing.

But along with that message comes another for those who have at least one dose of the vaccine: continue to practice CDC guidelines.

“We need your help to keep neighbors safe and healthy,” said Evers. “Please stay at home, get your fish fry to go, continue to avoid large gathering of people and always wear a mask.”

Some may start to question why they should get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first place if they still need to mask up and social distance.

Bellin Health’s Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Michael Landrum said that might be difficult for people to accept, especially the 6.6 percent in the state who have completed their series.

“There’s this mixed message, like, ‘Okay, you should get the vaccine but then you have to continue to do everything just the same as you had been doing it,’” said Dr. Landrum. “So then it’s, ‘Well, what’s the advantage of it? Why am I getting it?’”

Dr. Landrum said there are plenty of reasons why you should still get the vaccine.

“Number one, you are protecting yourself,” said Landrum. “The vaccines are very effective, and so the risk of you actually dying from COVID is virtually zero.”

Research shows people who received the two-shot series then developed COVID-19 had milder symptoms.

“So that’s really a good thing to know if you get it, you’re not going to die from COVID-19,” said Dr. Landrum.

Landrum said the vaccine doesn’t offer 100 percent immunity and they still don’t know if the vaccine reduces transmission.

“They (the vaccines) probably don’t reduce it by 100% but they probably make it much less likely as well, but again, we’re waiting for that information in that research to really confirm those thoughts and ideas,” said Dr. Landrum. “The mask we know is protective, so you’re just adding another layer of protection.”

Dr. Landrum said it makes sense for people to think that once you get the complete series that you should be able to do more, but how much more is really hard to define as every scenario is different.

“We’re hoping that the CDC actually is going to come out with some recommendations pretty soon,” said Dr. Landrum. “They’re working on that, and so hopefully within the next few days we’ll have some more firm recommendations.”

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