COVID-19 Q&A: Why you still need to wear a mask after vaccination

Send us your questions about the COVID-19 vaccination process.
Send us your questions about the COVID-19 vaccination process.(KTUU)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 1:48 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Alaska and their distribution to individuals who are eligible, ready and able to receive them has prompted numerous questions from our viewers.

Here, we’ll publish answers to your most commonly asked questions. Submit questions you’d like to ask to


Which vaccine is the most effective against COVID-19? Pfizer or Moderna? - Barbara


According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective, which means during trials a small percentage of people who received the vaccines still became ill with the virus. It’s also not yet known whether the vaccine only prevents or lessens symptoms, or if it also prevents infection. This means you could be healthy with no symptoms, but still have the virus even after getting vaccinated.

Source: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Jan. 14, 2021.


I keep hearing people who get the shot say that they are so relieved that they got it so that now they can go out to visit friends and family and get out to do things. Why do they feel like it prevents them from getting the virus? thought we were told it is like any other virus vaccine in that it just lessens the symptoms when you do get sick? - Sherry


Health experts advise individuals to keep using preventive measures practiced before the vaccine was available. This is because prevention strategies are most effective when used in combination with each other. Also, the vaccine is still being studied and scientists don’t know how the vaccine impacts infectiousness and transmissibility. After you are immunized, you might still be able to infect others even if you don’t become ill or develop symptoms. Experts say the best protection for yourself, your family and the community is to continue to wear masks, wash hands and avoid gatherings.

Sources: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Jan. 14, 2021; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


I’m turning 65 on February 14, 2021. Can I sign up now for an appointment on the 14th or after? - Penny


Yes. But you need to be an eligible age on the day of the appointment. Because there is not enough vaccine to go around at one time, the state’s health team has developed phases and tiers for determining who is eligible and when. Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink has said it’s fine to make the appointment now as long as you will be an eligible age the day you receive the vaccine. Eligibility varies depending on where you live and where you receive your health care. Tribal health organizations, for example, have expanded eligibility more quickly than the State of Alaska’s allocation plan. Eligibility through other federal health providers, like the military and the Veteran’s Administration, may also vary from the state.

Source: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Jan. 14, 2021; Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp.; Southcentral Foundation.

Editor’s Note: Some questions have been lightly edited for clarity.

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