AUGUSTA — The director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it is far too early for people to stop wearing masks.
“Given that we are in a pandemic that has claimed the lives of 700 folks, doing something as simple as donning a mask, that reduces the likelihood of transmission by such a staggering amount. That’s a win,” Dr. Nirav Shah said during a briefing before members of the legislature’s Committee on Health and Human Services.
He said the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have proven effective but some lawmakers questioned the new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
“All three vaccines reduce the likelihood of being hospitalized, severely hospitalized with COVID, needing a ventilator, or dying from COVID,” Shah said. “They reduce that likelihood by 100 percent.”
Shah said there are a variety of reasons why some pharmacies have been given the vaccine and others have not.
“If they have the ability to record electronically, conduct a high through-put, but those that also have a good geographic reach,” he said.
Shaw said he envisions more pharmacies having the vaccine in the future, but for now, there simply is not enough supply.
He said if a person and the people they are with have been fully vaccinated, and at least two weeks have passed, it is safe to return to normal social activities.
“Folks should feel free to gather. They should feel free to get back together. They should feel free to hug their grandkids. And the reason is the vaccine is stunningly effective,” Shah said.
He said, if anything, they have been underselling how effective the vaccine is.