Here’s why you still need to wear a face mask after you get a COVID vaccine

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

While [recent vaccine] developments mark a historic moment and hold much promise, that doesn’t mean Americans can stop wearing masks anytime soon. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, explains why.

CNN: Does the vaccine protect people from getting Covid-19? If so, how come I still have to wear a mask?

Wen: This is a good question! It’s important to be clear about what we know and what we don’t know about what the vaccine does… The vaccine will protect you from getting ill and then ending up hospitalized. But it’s possible that you could still carry the virus and be contagious to others. So those who get the vaccine should still be wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.

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There will be small numbers of individuals who cannot get vaccines. In the beginning, children won’t be able to get vaccines because it hasn’t yet been tested on children. It’s also possible that there are some medical conditions that make it such that certain people can’t get the vaccine, or that the vaccine is less effective for them. That’s why the rest of us have to get vaccinated, to protect them.

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