It’s the message that some have been waiting to hear: get the COVID-19 vaccine, ditch the face mask. Some think that in light of the COVID-19 vaccine, continuing to use face masks is ridiculous.
But is it? That’s the question we’ll examine in this post. Some have said that the new face mask removal policy for vaccinated persons is part of a political agenda to enhance the time in office of President Joe Biden, but this post will not deal with that. Instead, we’ll take a look at the medical reason why it’s not safe to take off your mask — no matter how vaccinated you are.
does the covid-19 vaccine prevent infections?
Those who think that being vaccinated gives license to live again without face masks are just terribly, terribly wrong. The science, in fact, says differently.
First, the COVID-19 vaccine does not prevent you from getting COVID. Rather, the vaccine is designed to prevent severe symptoms and hospitalization. That is, if a person has symptoms from COVID-19, the vaccine is said to prevent those symptoms from turning so intense that you would need hospitalization. In other words, the vaccine is designed to keep you out of the hospital in the event that you do come down with COVID.
Keep in mind that what this means is that you can still get COVID-19. There is no vaccine around that prevents you from getting it. If no current vaccine on the market prevents COVID infection, then even when you’re vaccinated, you can still get COVID-19. Even vaccinated people are still at risk of contracting and spreading COVID.
the getaway criminal: asymptomatic transmission
Think about how science and medicine are practiced. Solutions to sicknesses arise because doctors study symptoms, physical side effects of the condition or illness. In the absence of side effects, how do you diagnose a disease or sickness? You rule out other potential issues. This is how doctors have been able to determine that the current blood clot issue so many vaccinated patients are experiencing is due to the vaccine and not their own immune systems just suddenly going wrong without reason.
In the case of asymptomatic transmission, though, there’s no way to diagnose how the disease is passed from one person to another without symptoms. Doctors don’t understand how transmission occurs when no symptoms are present. It is hard to understand because it feels like you’re fighting an invisible enemy.
And so, when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, it can’t target asymptomatic transmission because it isn’t designed to. A vaccine cannot be designed to treat a sickness without symptoms. You can’t treat an illness if you don’t know how it starts, if you don’t know what happens when someone gets sick, and so on. Without any physical evidence, the best medicine and science can do is “recommend” things you should and shouldn’t do in hopes of continuing to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
If we keep this in mind, it means that, no matter how great the COVID-19 vaccine, it can never, under any circumstances, tackle asymptomatic transmission (passing the sickness to others without displaying symptoms) because medicine cannot diagnose the invisible. Asymptomatic transmission works invisibly, affecting some and bypassing others. This is the most mysterious part of COVID-19 that medicine and injections cannot treat.
The COVID-19 vaccine is designed to prevent severe symptoms: flu, pneumonia, hospitalization due to double pneumonia, breathing difficulties, and so on. But if someone does not have these symptoms, the vaccine cannot treat the fact that they’re carrying the disease without displaying them.
I’ll leave you with a statement from Altimmune Inc. Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Georgetown University School of Medicine Adjunct Professor, Dr. M. Scott Harris:
“Studies have shown that without mucosal immunity (that is, preventing the spread of COVID-19 through the nasal cavity), the nasal cavity can serve as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, this means that it is possible that recipients of intramuscular vaccines, while themselves protected from disease, could still contract an asymptomatic coronavirus infection and transmit it to others who may not be protected.”
In other words, even vaccinated, you could still transmit COVID to someone else — even if you display no symptoms at all.
why removing the face mask is a move in the wrong direction
So with that said, why would anyone want to remove the face mask? If a vaccinated person can still contract COVID and spread it to others, in the absence of symptoms, why remove the face mask? It doesn’t make sense. It’s essentially putting people at risk to get COVID again, which could see COVID numbers turn in the wrong direction. Even with asymptomatic cases, COVID still exists and can still spread. In the early days of the pandemic, and even now, asymptomatic transmission is still the most lethal thing about this virus and disease. The reason? If COVID-19 continues to persist, even in the presence of vaccines, the pandemic won’t end.
Removing the face mask in the presence of such a “silent enemy” is not a good strategy. And since it’s common knowledge that vaccinations don’t always work for those with compromised immune systems (blood issues, cancers, lupus, arthritis, etc.), removing face masks is like removing the protections that vaccination is said to provide.
But vaccination works like birth control and condoms: if a married couple doesn’t want to get pregnant, it’s easy to 1) use condoms or 2) use birth control, but protection against pregnancy should be “both-and,” not “either-or.” Alone, birth control and condoms aren’t 100% effective; placed together, however, they could prove to be a more effective way of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy. Even pro-life Republicans believe in using birth control and condoms (which is inconsistent, considering they believe that every life is from God and should be allowed to live).
Similarly, when it comes to face masks and the COVID-19 vaccine, neither alone is 100% effective. However, when used together, both can protect you against COVID-19 and the possibility of severe symptoms and hospitalization. And if you’re a person with underlying conditions, that face mask may prove to be the only lifeline you have that actually works.
a “both-And” Situation: Face masks and the covid-19 vaccine: Conclusion
I don’t understand the mindset of those who choose to be vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is the hardest part of the process. It’s quite a risk to decide to allow an injection into your body with unknown consequences. At this stage in the COVID-19 vaccine research, there’s so much we don’t know about the vaccine and what long-term consequences could result from it. For example, the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t have full FDA approval yet. It’s approved for emergency use in the pandemic, but emergency use isn’t full official approval. There are those who have received their two doses (one dose for Johnson & Johnson patients) and have lived; some have had blood clots or issues resulting from the injections, while others have died just hours and days after getting their first or second dose.
And even with all the side effects we know about, vaccinated persons have still chosen to get the vaccine. In my mind, that’s the hardest part about all this: choosing to get vaccinated despite the risk of blood clot, stroke, rash breakout, and even death.
So if vaccinated persons have chosen the hardest thing (injections and their risks), then how hard can it be to do the easiest thing and just wear a face mask when going out in public?
I know that for some, the face mask presents problems such as breathing difficulties. I understand this, as do many who choose to use a face mask and remain unvaccinated for the time being. But when the vaccine-hesitant express their reservations against the vaccine (vaccine was rushed, side effects, unknown side effects, emergency use vs. official approval, etc.), vaccinated persons give them the “I can’t believe you think that way” look. If vaccinated persons can see the problems with face masks, surely, then, they can understand the problems with the vaccine and why some choose to wait rather than get the vaccine right now.
If vaccinated persons can see the good in the COVID-19 vaccine despite its risks, why can’t they see the good in the face mask despite its difficulties?
The COVID-19 vaccine isn’t perfect. Face masks aren’t perfect. Alone, they’re not 100% effective. But when used together, they make one lethal combo.