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Why masks and more still matter, health experts weigh in

UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. – If you think you can take off your mask and stop social distancing once you have received your COVID-19 vaccine, health experts caution not quite yet.

Everyone must continue taking the necessary precautions to not spread the virus, even after receiving their shots.

“It may take a while before everyone has had a chance to get the vaccine. In the meantime, we are still vulnerable to the virus,” said Eve Komosa, PA-C, physician assistant at Aspirus Health. “And because no vaccine is 100% effective, you may still be at risk, too. Everyone needs to continue using every tool possible to fight the spread.”

When can I stop wearing a mask?

While research is ongoing, not enough is known about the vaccine or the virus yet to predict when it will be safe to stop wearing a mask or social distancing. Two things need to happen first:

“A large number of people need to get the shot and we need to be sure the vaccine offers long-term protection,” Komosa said. “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 is unlikely to spread widely anymore. Because it is not yet clear how many people will need to be vaccinated before herd immunity is achieved, it is still important to stay positive and be safe.

“We need to work together to get through this,” Komosa said. “Please keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe by masking up and staying 6 feet from others.”

For more up-to-date information about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccinations, visit the COVID-19 Resource Center on the Aspirus website.

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