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Face Masks Provide More Protection that COVID-19 Vaccine — CDC

Face covering is “the most powerful public health tool” the nation has against the COVID-19 pandemic and might even provide better protection against it than a vaccine.

September 16, Wednesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said that wearing a mask is guaranteed to protect someone from the coronavirus than taking a vaccine.

In a Senate hearing, Redfield emphasized the importance of wearing masks, noting that an eventual vaccine is not expected to work in 100-percent of people, but only 70-percent. But a mask is guaranteed to offer at least some protection for all wearers; though it is far from total protection, he added.

“We have clear scientific evidence they work and they are our best defense, I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in August that scientists are hoping for a vaccine that’s at least 75% effective. The Food and Drug Administration said it would authorize a coronavirus vaccine so long as it is safe and at least 50% effective. 

A 50% effective vaccine would be roughly on par with those for influenza, but below the effectiveness of one dose of a measles vaccination, which is about 93% effective, according to the CDC. 

“If I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine’s not going to protect me. This face mask will,” Redfield told lawmakers while holding up a blue surgical face mask.

The CDC and the World Health Organization now suggest people wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which is spread through respiratory droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The CDC says face masks that cover the mouth and nose are “particularly important” when people can’t maintain a 6-foot distance from one another.