Vaccine alone is not enough
International experts have concluded COVID-19 vaccination alone is not sufficient to stem the pandemic. Their evidence review, published on 18 November in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), concludes several personal protective and social measures, including mask wearing and physical distancing, are associated with reductions in the incidence COVID-19 and should be continued alongside vaccination.
The researchers, from universities in Scotland, Australia and China, trawled databases for studies that assessed the effectiveness of public health measures in reducing the incidence of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 transmission (the virus responsible for the disease), and COVID-19 mortality.
In total, 72 studies met their inclusion criteria, of which 35 evaluated individual public health measures and 37 assessed multiple public health measures. Results from 8 of these 35 studies were analysed in detail, which indicated a statistically significant 53 per cent reduction in the incidence of COVID-19 with mask wearing and a 25 per cent reduction with physical distancing.
Detailed analysis was not possible for other measures, including quarantine and isolation, universal lockdowns, and closures of borders, schools, and workplaces, due to differences in study design, outcome measures and quality. The paper concludes: “It is likely that further control of the COVID-19 pandemic depends not only on high vaccination coverage and its effectiveness but also on ongoing adherence to effective and sustainable public health measures.”
Source: Risks 1023. Read more:
- Stella Talic and others. Effectiveness of public health measures in reducing the incidence of covid-19, SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and covid-19 mortality: systematic review and meta-analysis, [Full article] BMJ 2021;375:e068302, 18 November 2021.
- Paul P Glasziou, Susan Michie and Atle Fretheim. Editorial: Public health measures for covid-19: Lack of good research is a pandemic tragedy, BMJ 2021;375:n2729, 18 November 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2729
- Mask-wearing linked to 53% cut in Covid incidence, global study finds, The Guardian.