Don’t Put Away Your Mask!
Have you received your COVID-19 vaccination? If so, it’s not yet time to put away your mask. Health experts say until millions more people get their shots it’s critical for people to keep wearing masks and taking other precautions.
So what are the implications – the REAL realities – as more and more people are vaccinated?
The most important thing to realize is that we are not yet out of the woods. With a population exceeding 300 million people, it will be months before everyone who NEEDS the vaccine actually RECEIVES their immunization. That means that staying safe – and keeping others safe, too – should remain everyone’s top priority.
According to Dr. Michelle Barron, one of the top infectious disease experts in Colorado, “That shot is not your ticket to freedom. You’ve got to keep wearing your mask. Once the infection rates go down significantly and transmission is low, then maybe we can do things differently. But, even China is having outbreaks again. The worldwide effects of the pandemic are still ongoing.”
At Mountain Health Network, all our volunteers have been vaccinated, but there’s still work to do. “Our campaign to help frontline workers goes beyond vaccinations. We’ve had people feed them and send precious gifts,” notes Kristi Arrowood – Director of Development. “These are the local heroes who keep all of us safe, functioning and able to live as normally as possible. But, frankly, we need more funding to make sure no one is overlooked and every frontline worker is honored and appreciated.”
Until millions more people get their vaccines, EVERYONE – even those who have received one or both doses – must continue the routines we’ve been following for the past twelve months. Why? Because even though a person has been vaccinated, it is still possible to test positive for COVID-19. That’s why it’s so important to keep wearing a mask, washing hands and staying apart from people outside of your home.
Medical experts agree that, once you get both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine, you will have excellent protection from the illness. The vaccines in use right now have been shown to be 95% effective. But that doesn’t yet mean that the COVID-19 virus, or the new variations that are beginning to appear, are truly “under control.” Researchers are still studying how immunity “works” among those who have been immunized. And they’ve discovered that it appears to be possible for people who have received their injections to still be “carriers” and unknowingly spread the virus to others.
Unfortunately, that simply means we still have a season ahead of mask-wearing in public, frequent hand-washing, social distancing and limiting contact with others to the extent we can.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t participate in ways that can help everyone get through the pandemic. Volunteers are still needed – more than ever! – at Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital. And gifts to help our COVID-19 Fund will provide much needed help to frontline workers.
Please consider how you can help during this unprecedented crisis. Contact us at Mountain Health Network to give or to volunteer. Call (304) 526-2658 or email Lauren Francis the volunteer coordinator at Cabell.