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There continue to be individuals walking among us who don’t believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and safe. And probably even more who don’t think wearing a mask reduces risk of infection. If patients or staff complain to you that it’s all overkill with no benefit to be had, share the results of two new studies indicating that both vaccination and mask wearing are effective tools to slow the spread of the virus. (This may be especially important given the latest news on the Omicron variant). The first study, published in the British Medical Journal, reveals that new cases of COVID-19 infection drop by 53% among people who wear a mask. Data were drawn from multiple countries, with U.S. transmission shown to be reduced by 29% in states where masks wearing is mandatory. (There was no explanation as to why different countries had disparate results.) Other basic measures like social distancing and handwashing are also effective, though not to the same degree as masking up. Meanwhile, ABC News reported that as of November 9 workplace vaccine mandates nearly doubled the number of people vaccinated in some of the organizations it featured (including Google, Tyson, United Airlines, and its own parent corporation, the Walt Disney Company).

Remind Patients (and Staff): Those COVID-19 Precautions Everyone Complains About Actually Work