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Can a combination of vaccination and face mask wearing contain the COVID-19 pandemic?
Microb Biotechnol. 2022 03; 15(3):721-737.MB

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic is going into its third year with Europe again being the focus of major epidemic activity. The present review tries to answer the question whether one can come to grip with the pandemic by a combination of vaccinations and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Several COVID-19 vaccines are of remarkable efficacy and achieve high protection rates against symptomatic disease, especially severe disease, but mathematical models suggest that the current vaccination coverage in many countries is insufficient to achieve pandemic control. NPIs are needed as complementary measures because recent research has also revealed the limits of vaccination alone. Here, we review the evidence for efficacy of face mask wearing in various settings. Overall pooled analysis showed significant reduction in COVID-19 incidence with mask wearing, although heterogeneity between studies was substantial. Controlled trials of mask wearing are difficult to conduct, separating mask wearing effects in population studies from the impact of other NPIs is challenging and the efficacy of masks depend on mask material and mask fit. The combination of vaccination and mask wearing is potentially synergistic since vaccination protects so far well from disease development (the omicron variant is currently an unknown) but immunity from infection wanes over few months after vaccination. In comparison, masks interfere with the virus transmission process at a level of a physical barrier independent of coronavirus variant. Vaccination and masks are much less costly to apply than other NPI measures which are associated with high economic and social costs, but paradoxically both measures are the target of a vocal opposition by a sizable minority of the society. In parallel with biomedical research, we need more social science research into this opposition to guide political decisions on how to end the pandemic.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Laboratory of Gene Technology, Department of Biosystems, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.Institute of Food Safety and Analytical Science, Nestlé Research, Lausanne 26, 1000, Switzerland.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

34962710

Citation

Brüssow, Harald, and Sophie Zuber. "Can a Combination of Vaccination and Face Mask Wearing Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic?" Microbial Biotechnology, vol. 15, no. 3, 2022, pp. 721-737.
Brüssow H, Zuber S. Can a combination of vaccination and face mask wearing contain the COVID-19 pandemic? Microb Biotechnol. 2022;15(3):721-737.
Brüssow, H., & Zuber, S. (2022). Can a combination of vaccination and face mask wearing contain the COVID-19 pandemic? Microbial Biotechnology, 15(3), 721-737. https://doi.org/10.1111/1751-7915.13997
Brüssow H, Zuber S. Can a Combination of Vaccination and Face Mask Wearing Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic. Microb Biotechnol. 2022;15(3):721-737. PubMed PMID: 34962710.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Can a combination of vaccination and face mask wearing contain the COVID-19 pandemic? AU - Brüssow,Harald, AU - Zuber,Sophie, Y1 - 2021/12/28/ PY - 2021/12/11/received PY - 2021/12/16/accepted PY - 2021/12/29/pubmed PY - 2022/3/18/medline PY - 2021/12/28/entrez SP - 721 EP - 737 JF - Microbial biotechnology JO - Microb Biotechnol VL - 15 IS - 3 N2 - The COVID-19 pandemic is going into its third year with Europe again being the focus of major epidemic activity. The present review tries to answer the question whether one can come to grip with the pandemic by a combination of vaccinations and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Several COVID-19 vaccines are of remarkable efficacy and achieve high protection rates against symptomatic disease, especially severe disease, but mathematical models suggest that the current vaccination coverage in many countries is insufficient to achieve pandemic control. NPIs are needed as complementary measures because recent research has also revealed the limits of vaccination alone. Here, we review the evidence for efficacy of face mask wearing in various settings. Overall pooled analysis showed significant reduction in COVID-19 incidence with mask wearing, although heterogeneity between studies was substantial. Controlled trials of mask wearing are difficult to conduct, separating mask wearing effects in population studies from the impact of other NPIs is challenging and the efficacy of masks depend on mask material and mask fit. The combination of vaccination and mask wearing is potentially synergistic since vaccination protects so far well from disease development (the omicron variant is currently an unknown) but immunity from infection wanes over few months after vaccination. In comparison, masks interfere with the virus transmission process at a level of a physical barrier independent of coronavirus variant. Vaccination and masks are much less costly to apply than other NPI measures which are associated with high economic and social costs, but paradoxically both measures are the target of a vocal opposition by a sizable minority of the society. In parallel with biomedical research, we need more social science research into this opposition to guide political decisions on how to end the pandemic. SN - 1751-7915 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/34962710/Can_a_combination_of_vaccination_and_face_mask_wearing_contain_the_COVID_19_pandemic L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/1751-7915.13997 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -