Will public health measures (face masks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings) still be necessary after people start getting the vaccine?

Yes, for several reasons:

  • It is not yet known if the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can prevent asymptomatic infection and subsequent transmission of the virus.
  • The vaccine is not 100% effective.
  • Public health measures will be important as long as virus is circulating in the community. There is currently widespread community transmission.
  • Vaccines are most effective in reducing virus when combined with public health measures until herd immunity is achieved.
  • No one knows you have been vaccinated when you appear in public, and the site of someone failing to wear a mask may cause anxiety for other individuals. Until there is widespread immunity to infection, masks and social distancing will be necessary. Optimal hand hygiene is always a good idea.

Updated January 13, 2021

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