Infectious Disease

A layered strategy to COVID-19 stays mandatory because the vaccine rollout continues

February 03, 2021

2 min read

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Barocas does not report any relevant financial information. Healio was unable to confirm any financial information for Franco at the time of publication.

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According to experts, it is still important that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 wear masks and practice social distancing.

“It remains important to practice well-established, evidence-based preventive measures.” Joshua Barocas, MD, An assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center said during a news conference for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Respirators

IDSA experts have encouraged continued wearing of masks as vaccines continue to be distributed.
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According to the CDC, more than 27 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 6.4 people have received the full two doses. The introduction of the vaccine, as well as emerging data from clinical trials on the vaccine’s effectiveness, “created an encouraging period,” Barocas said, although he stressed the need to work out inequalities in vaccine distribution.

“Vaccines do provide real risk reduction, and that’s the good news, but it’s important to remember that only a very small fraction of the population has actually been vaccinated,” Barocas said. “People with the greatest need for protection were not at the forefront, and we know that there are existing and growing inequalities among those who are vaccinated. Black and Latinx people, who are currently at the highest risk of infection, were and are the least likely to have been vaccinated. “

Comparing wearing masks to armor in a tournament game, Barocas found that while it didn’t guarantee protection, it was still safer not to wear it. He said a “multi-layered approach,” including masking, social distancing and other proven mitigation measures, will also be needed during vaccination.

Ricardo Franco, MD, An assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and an associate scientist at the University of Alabama at the Center for AIDS Research in Birmingham said during the briefing that emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants show the need for mitigation efforts, too among those who are vaccinated.

“The emergence of these variants only brings with it a greater urgency. Once vaccine production and supplies are at ideal capacity, the only way to have optimal vaccine distribution will be if we allocate more resources to local health departments and find creative ways to use retail stores and pharmacies to deliver these vaccines ” , he said. “It’s also very important to quickly report the number of vaccine shots returned to the CDC so that we know in real time which locations need additional vaccine bottles to be allocated in a timely manner.”

The percentage of the population that needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity is unclear, Franco said, and is a “moving target” determined by the population studied, the vaccines used and the prioritization of a particular population for distribution .

He also noted that the hesitation of the vaccine is a “worrying element” of the distribution that may further add to the time it will take to wear masks and social distancing.

“We have to continue to strive to use all the tools we have,” said Franco.

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