Why Masks & More Still Matter
Once you've received your COVID-19 vaccine, you can take off your mask and stop social distancing, right?
Not quite yet. Health experts are urging that everyone continue taking precautions not to spread the virus, even after they've received their shots.
Why is that? It may take a while before everyone has had a chance to get a vaccine. In the meantime, people are still vulnerable to the virus. And because no vaccine is 100% effective, you may still be at risk too.
So we need to continue using every tool we have to fight the spread.
When Can I Stop Wearing a Mask?
We don't know enough about the vaccine or the virus yet to predict when it'll be safe to stop wearing a mask or social distancing. But at least two things need to happen first:
- A large number of Americans need to get the shot.
- We need to be sure the vaccine offers long-term protection.
Once those things happen, we may begin to see herd immunity.
Getting to Herd Immunity
Herd immunity occurs when enough people are protected against a virus that it's unlikely to spread widely anymore.
It's not yet clear how many people will need to be vaccinated before we reach herd immunity. But once we do, we should be able to stop wearing masks and socially distancing.