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Mask Usage After a Vaccine Does Not Mean Vaccines Are Ineffective

Rebecca Bowen Rebecca Bowen
20th April 2021
Mask Usage After a Vaccine Does Not Mean Vaccines Are Ineffective
The CDC says COVID vaccines are over 90% effective (Getty Images).

The Claim

Having to wear masks after getting the COVID vaccine means that the vaccines are ineffective.

Emerging story

Last September, CDC Director Robert Redfield testified before a Senate subcommittee to address the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. During the discussion he called face masks our “best defense,” and said, “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, because it may be 70%. And if I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me.” Redfield’s comments continue to be taken out of context, and misinterpreted today.

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A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Director Redfield’s comments about masks were not meant to imply that vaccines do not work. He stated that if a person by chance does not have an immune response to a vaccine, it may not protect them. This is the only scenario he is outlining to explain when a mask would be more effective than a vaccine. The CDC still strongly recommends both getting vaccinated and continuing to wear masks, as simply getting vaccinated does not guarantee complete immunity, and you can still infect others even if you’ve had the vaccine. 

There are different types and ways of receiving immunity. Multiple dose vaccinations, for example, are used to create a stronger dose or to reestablish the body’s immunity, as in the case of booster shots. There are also reasons why a body may not have the proper immune response to a vaccine. These reasons include incorrectly stored and refrigerated doses, immunosuppressive therapies, immune system disorders, and not receiving proper booster doses. They occur in very small portions of the populations and these people are generally made aware of this likelihood.

While these vaccines have been extensively proven to be effective in protecting against COVID, the full efficacy and effects of the vaccines cannot yet be fully determined until detailed studies are conducted in years to come. Similar to the public’s confusion that they can catch the flu from a flu shot, vaccines, and how they make you physically feel, notoriously confuse people. Side effects of feeling ill occur only half the time so far in immunized people. When feeling side effects, this leads some to improperly believe that they caught the illness from the vaccine or are not protected from it. The National Institute of Health continues to conduct research into how often and how well the vaccine works in the population, and stands behind an over 90% effectiveness rating for the various COVID vaccines.

It is inaccurate to continue to use Redfield’s comments to deny the success of vaccines.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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