(WSYR-TV) — It looks like there will be millions of more vaccines available to Americans in the next few months.
Pfizer will supply 100 million additional doses by mid-summer. That being said, we have a couple of questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Why do we still have to wear masks after getting the vaccine?”
Public health experts said that vaccinated people will need to keep wearing masks and follow social distancing guidelines for some time.
Although the vaccine is more than 94% effective at reducing symptomatic illness, it isn’t yet known whether it reduces the likelihood of contracting the virus and being an asymptomatic carrier.
We will be able to do away with masks when vaccination brings us all closer to herd immunity, which is when enough of the population is protected. That could happen by the end of 2021.
“Does the COVID-19 vaccine protection last or will we need to get it every year like the flu shot?”
This is a great question, but the answer is that we don’t know how long the vaccine will protect us.
A study of the Moderna vaccine found a robust antibody response for at least 119 days.
We don’t yet have data beyond this, though some experts believe immunity should last at least a year.
All viruses mutate, although vaccines are designed to consider possible mutations, it’s possible that enough mutations could eventually reduce the potency of the existing vaccines.
It may turn out that people have to receive regular booster shots, as we already do for Tetanus, or an annual shot that adjusts for variants, as we do for the flu.