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Why we will still be wearing masks after a vaccine

Even after the full rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, we expect people to still be wearing masks whether popping to the shops or riding on public transport. Here are five reasons why.

Masked person holding up a U-Mask

As the Covid-19 pandemic swept across Asia and on towards Europe and North America, mask use became a health priority. The population of Asian countries were already familiar with wearing masks after previous outbreaks including SARS and bird flu, but the idea of wearing them in the western world was novel. It took a while before governments and organisations confirmed that citizens should wear masks to help stop the spread of the virus.

1. It will take a while to deliver the Covid-19 vaccine

So far, a number of vaccines have been approved for use with many countries already delivering the first dose to their delighted citizens. However it is important to note that the pharmaceutical companies responsible for manufacturing the vaccine can only work so fast, and when one considers the population of the planet - 7.8 billion people (and growing!) - there is a long way to go before everyone is vaccinated from Covid-19, especially as most vaccines require two separate doses. Over 15 billion vials will therefore need to be delivered, there have been well-reported supply chain problems and until that time, wearing a mask could remain mandatory for all.

2. Not everyone will receive the vaccine

The truth is that although many will opt to have the vaccine, many others will choose not to do so for various reasons. For example, as the vaccine hasn’t been tested on pregnant members of the population, current advice is for those who are pregnant to not receive it. With many continuing not to be vaccinated, it makes sense to ensure peace of mind by continuing to wear a mask to put others at ease.

3. In reality, we don’t know the protection level

Although the vaccine is great news, we don’t yet know for certain the protection level that it affords. Will vaccinated people still be able to spread the virus to others despite not getting ill themselves? Will the effects of the vaccine wear off at any point? Will the vaccine continue to be successful against other strains of the virus? As Covid-19 continues to mutate, it remains to be seen how effective the vaccine really is. With this in mind, it would be prudent to continue wearing masks and enhancing the protection for every member of the population. We are all in this together!

As well as protecting from Covid-19, there are a number of other reasons why we believe masks are here to stay.

4. Masks protect from other viruses

In many Asian countries including China, South Korea and Japan, if someone knows that they are ill or has recently returned to work after an illness, they often wear a mask as a courtesy to others both within the workplace and elsewhere. Nobody wants to be ‘that person’ in the office who doesn’t comply and ruins the social function for everyone. Masks have proven to be effective in containing and transmitting viruses. Flu levels have in fact gone down during the pandemic. And now that the western world is used to wearing masks, it is hoped that the cultural impact of seeing their effectiveness in combating Covid will ensure enhanced use in future years.

5. Masks protect us from pollution

Air pollution levels in most cities across Europe exceed WHO guidelines and are at illegal levels. As well as protecting the wearer from viruses and other illnesses, some masks also protect you from pollution, which is why masks are becoming more commonly seen on cyclists as well as on transport including underground systems around the world.

A future fashion trend

With Asia being something of a trendsetter around the world, their actions teach us that the face mask is here to stay. Alongside this, in research conducted by U-Earth, we found that 65% of people in the UK said that they would be happy if mask adoption stayed at its current level while 78% felt that wearing face masks should be mandatory in closed spaces during winter months in order to stop the spread of seasonal flu. The masks that work are sure to retain their appeal among those in specific situations who care about their health. Especially if they have a good look and if they can be branding, becoming part of a corporate identity.

Feel free to check out U-Mask Model 2.1, the latest version of U-Earth’s biotech face mask.

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