If many Americans refuse the vaccine, wearing a mask can help you protect yourself
Despite the COVID-19 vaccines being proven safe, some Americans may avoid vaccination. Incorrect coronavirus vaccine myths and other misinformation have falsely claimed that the vaccine will include government-tracking microchips or be forcefully administered by the military. This is not true.
Some may be wrongly concerned that the vaccine was developed too quickly to be safe. Both vaccines in the US have undergone extensive clinical trials and have been proven to be 94% and 95% effective, well over the 90% efficacy threshold required.
While a vaccine won't completely stop the pandemic in its tracks, it's the direct route to herd immunity. However, in order to get there, more people will need to get the coronavirus vaccine. And, due to a limited number of doses, not everyone is able to get the coronavirus vaccine all at once. In fact, depending on which group you're in, you may be waiting until at least April to get the vaccine, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert -- if not later.
If a significant portion of the population refuses to take the vaccine, we will likely not see numbers of new cases decrease as rapidly as we'd like, says Gonsenhauser. He says he and other medical providers are doing everything they can to remind people how safe the vaccine is -- from bringing relatable and accessible information to communities who have different oppositions to distrust the vaccine, to help them make better-informed decisions.
People in smaller groups are less likely to wear masks when together, according to a Vox survey first published in November. Thirty two percent of respondents said they don't wear a mask when attending a sit-down gathering.
"Masks are a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives," the World Health Organization says. If 95% of the public wears a mask, tens of thousands of lives could be saved, according to a Nature Medicine study from October.
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