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Masks and COVID-19 Vaccine

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Why do we still have to wear a mask and practice social distancing after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

Katherine Baumgarten, MD, Ochsner's medical director of Infection Control and Prevention, says the vaccines are very effective, but there is still a possibility that some people may get the disease. It may be milder than normal, but we still have to take those precautions. The other reason is that not everybody has gotten the vaccine yet. So, we have to make sure that we continue wearing masks until everyone can get the vaccine.

Even when people get the vaccine, some populations will still be vulnerable, Dr. Baumgarten says. They may not have strong immune systems. They may be on medicine that suppresses their immune system. So, we still may have vulnerable populations that we need to protect. Thus, keep wearing masks, social distancing and do all the things we need to protect each other from getting COVID-19.

Dr. Baumgarten also notes that even after the first dose, you’re not fully protected. So, people can still get COVID-19 after the first dose of the vaccine especially, and we have had that happen a few times. “So, we want to make sure people continue the measures they need to prevent COVID-19 from developing,’’ she said.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine at

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