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What a Vaccine Means for the Future of Masks and Social Distancing

Like you, we’ve turned the page on 2020 and are looking forward to what should be a far better year ahead. Although COVID-19 continues to spread in our community and across our country at an alarming rate, newly approved vaccines are being distributed to frontline workers and at-risk populations and will soon be available more widely to the general public.

Until these vaccines are more widely available, the wearing of masks and practicing of social distancing are absolutely essential to slowing the spread of the coronavirus in our community. But you might be wondering what’s going to happen to these practices once vaccination becomes commonplace. We’re taking a closer look at the answer to that question.

What’s Next for Social Distancing and Mask-Wearing After Vaccination?

Although the approved vaccines have shown to be very effective at helping a person build immunity against COVID-19, there’s still much that we don’t know yet in terms of long-term effectiveness. 

The FDA and other oversight agencies have given their blessing for the vaccines in terms of efficacy and safety, but what’s still unclear is whether or not the COVID vaccine will offer long-term immunity or if it will need to be administered yearly like the flu shot. Additionally, efficacy for the currently approved vaccines ranges from 90 percent to 95 percent, which means that 5 to 10 percent of recipients may still contract the virus regardless.

Make no mistake, neither we nor the medical community at large is saying that mask-wearing and social distancing will have to last forever. What is most likely is that we’ll slowly be able to ease away from the mitigation measures like wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings as we learn more about the trajectory of the pandemic and the vaccines in 2021. In the meantime, we will continue to recommend following all of the guidelines outlined on our website. As always, talk to your doctor or call our 24/7 nurse call line if you have any questions.

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