Unanswered questions fuel need to wear mask after vaccination

While the coronavirus vaccine can prevent you from getting seriously ill from COVID-19, it does not make you invincible, which is why many health experts are urging people to continue wearing masks even after they are fully vaccinated.

“Vaccination is a huge step toward protection but it’s not 100%,” said Dr. Colleen Barry with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

According to Barry, vaccinated people should continue taking precautions due in part to a couple of unanswered questions.

There have been cases where people get infected with the virus even after being vaccinated, but it’s not clear how frequently that happens.

Another big unknown is whether vaccinated people can spread the virus to those who have not been vaccinated.

Barry called that “one of the most important scientific questions” that “is still unsettled.”

“It’s important for all of us to realize that this is a process and it’s not a light switch,” Barry said. “The concern is not vaccinated people themselves but everyone else.”

About 14% of the country’s population is currently fully vaccinated.

When a person is “fully vaccinated,” it means that at least two weeks have passed since they received their final dose.

Top U.S. health officials are in a race to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible as COVID-19 variants spread, mask and distancing rules are relaxed and Americans crave a return to normalcy.

As part of their efforts, the Biden administration announced Thursday it will invest nearly $10 billion to expand vaccine access in communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations and other underserved communities. Some of the money will go to community health centers. Funding comes mostly from the American Rescue Plan.

While the U.S. is vaccinating roughly 2.5 million people daily and nearly 1 in 3 adults have received at least one shot, roughly that many say they are skeptical or won’t get vaccinated.

Some U.S. polls and statistics show hesitancy in some communities of color is falling, though vaccination rates are still highest among white people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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