Post-vaccination thoughts

Arm With Bandaid After Vaccination

It has been a crazy, stressed, isolated, angry, and terrifying year; Covid19 changed everything for all of us, though not in the same ways. Last year at this time we were about to be completely shut down, with those who could beginning to work from home. Schools closed and families scrambled to homeschool AND work from home without preparation or equipment. Zoom became a verb as we taught classes, held meetings, went to church, celebrated birthdays and holidays. We lived in pods and wore masks to protect ourselves and others when we went into the few places that were open or gathered in socially distant groups for wary, careful visits. Those of us living alone were the most isolated, and all of us are sick of living limited, restricted lives. Unfathomable numbers of people died of Covid or Covid-related illnesses. Everyone I know knows of at least one person who died and many who were seriously ill, some living with long-term complications.

The promise of a vaccine was tied to our ability to return to some semblance of normal. A vaccine doesn’t erradicate a disease but it does protect the vaccinated so they get a more mild case of whatever the disease is. Two, then three Covid vaccines emerged from testing to provide protection but the distribution process was a dismal failure of confusion and delay. No one knew how to get a vaccine, who would provide it, when it would come, or how to know where you fell on a waiting list. Things worked differently in different states, different counties, different cities. And those without computers and cell phones found themselves at a great disadvantage in getting any information at all. Massive winter storms disrupted transportation lines even more.

I am one of the lucky ones who got Moderna vaccine shots. I am over 65 and am morbidly obese, which is one of the co-morbidities that could make me seriously ill if I got Covid, and I was alert and persistent in getting on waiting lists and following up on possibilities, so I qualified for the first round here in Texas. It required two shots one month apart, and I have to wait two weeks for all the antibodies to kick in, but what I’m feeling is …relief. I am so, so lucky, so grateful that this was possible – that the vaccines were developed so quickly, that I was able to get one, that I can start to think about traveling or simply going out with also-vaccinated friends. That I can get a hug. That I don’t have to be so alone.

But it’s not over yet. Covid isn’t gone and there are more variants popping up that may be immune to the vaccines. Not enough people have had a chance to get vaccinated, and those who have could still get sick and give it to someone else. States, including mine, are starting to open up and remove mask mandates and limits on business capacity. While we’re still be urged to use “personal responsibility” and mask up, I’m not expecting to see much of it in my part of Texas. I’m expecting to be ridiculed when I’m out in a mask, and have already decided to stick closer to home even while others are jubilantly filling restaurants, stadiums, and stores. I just don’t feel that safe. It’s still a confusing time.

It’s not over yet.