TAMPA, Fla. — We have heard from so many of you, "if I'm vaccinated, why do I have to wear a mask?" There are several reasons you should.
To break this down for you, we talked with Dr. Jill Roberts at USF Health. She's a molecular epidemiologist who specializes in emerging diseases.
She says the vaccines aren't 100 percent. There's a possibility that even if you've been vaccinated, you could get COVID. The effectiveness of the vaccine changes depending on which strains are circulating.
"Masks have significant advantages over the vaccines in that any variant that comes around, the mask is going to continue to work," Dr. Roberts said.
So does that mean the vaccines just don't work?
Dr. Roberts says for the majority of people, if you're vaccinated, it will protect you from getting sick. But there's a small percentage for which the vaccine won't work and they won't be protected.
She says think of a mask and a vaccine like a car.
"If you're going to ride around in a vehicle, you're going to put your safety belt on, right? But you're also going to have that airbag. You need both to give you higher higher levels of protection. So you might as well continue to use as much protection as humanly possible until we get to the point where we can have that conversation about taking the masks away," she said.
Also, Dr. Roberts says there's preliminary data that shows vaccinated people can't spread the virus; but we just don't know that yet.
Remember, this isn't forever. She says we have to get to the point where coronavirus has decreased so much that we can take the masks away.
We're just not there yet. But we are getting closer.
Remember, the CDC says there are times when you don't need to wear a mask. If you're fully vaccinated, it's not necessary to wear a mask outside except in crowded settings, and you can take it off around other vaccinated people.
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