Face masks more effective than COVID-19 vaccine? CDC Director shares his view

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC Director, says that face masks are the most effective tool with us against the virus

The “most effective public health tool” against the coronavirus is face coverings and it could also offer better protection than a vaccine, said the Director of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Center for Disease Control is the national public health institute of the US. Dr. Robert Redfield said that a possible vaccine against coronavirus, which is expected to be available in limited quantities by the end of this year, could have an immunogenicity of only 70%.

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Immunogenicity is a vaccine’s ability to develop an immune response against the virus. Other top health experts, including White House Coronavirus Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the possibility of developing a highly successful COVID-19 vaccine, one that offers 98 percent or more of assured safety, is minimal.

In August, Mr Fauci said that scientists are aiming for a vaccine that would be effective at least 75 percent. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration of the US said it will approve a coronavirus vaccine as long as it is at least 50% safe and effective.

“If I’m not getting an immune response, the vaccine won’t help me. This face mask would do that,’ said Redfield. He urged individuals, particularly those between 18 and 25 years of age, to continue wearing face coverings. He asserted that if people wore them universally, the pandemic can be brought under control within weeks.

In order to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, which is spread through respiratory droplets when a person talks, sneezes or coughs, the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC now suggest people wear face coverings. The CDC says face masks that cover the mouth and nose are “especially necessary” when people can’t keep a distance of 6 feet from each other.

Experts recommend wearing face masks as one of the most important things we can do to prevent spreading of the virus that has till date infected more than 5.12 million. This is because the virus could still be transmitted by people who are infected but don’t exhibit symptoms.