(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Pikochart/Achona Online)
For those who have been vaccinated, the light at the end of the tunnel is near as they are allowed to return to some sense of normalcy. Over the weekend, the CDC changed its guidelines for vaccinated people, allowing those who are fully vaccinated to engage in previously discouraged behavior.
“I got the first dose of the vaccine and will get my second dose in a few weeks. My experience was super pleasant. I drove up and showed them my school ID and my drivers license, then I pulled forward and got my injection, and then I pulled forward again and they had me wait for 15 minutes to make sure I didn’t have a reaction to the vaccine. It was super easy, I never even got out of my car. Through my own research, I found the benefits of the vaccine to far outweigh any possible negative effects for me personally,” said HS Administrative Assistant Bailey Queensland.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Although fully vaccinated individuals are more protected against COVID-19, the CDC still recommends that they keep taking precautions in public places such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds.
let’s remember that fully vaccinated means first and second dose AND once it’s been two weeks past the second dose THEN you’re fully-vaccinated!!!! https://t.co/JTfYdrNKUY
— jenna (@fatrachelberry) March 8, 2021
However, fully vaccinated individuals can now gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without masks and gather indoors with low-risk unvaccinated people from one other household without masks. This means people like grandparents who have been vaccinated can see and interact with their grandchildren and children from one household, as long as none of the unvaccinated people are considered high-risk. Fully vaccinated people also do not need to stay away from others or get tested if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
Other CDC recommendations, even for fully vaccinated people, have not changed. The CDC still recommends everyone avoid medium or large-sized gatherings, delay travel, watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, stay away from others if you experience COVID-19 symptoms, and follow safety guidance in public spaces.
“My aunt got the vaccine because she’s an essential worker as a pediatrician. She felt sick for a day after she got her second dose, but it didn’t last long and now she feels better than ever. I think people who are hesitant to be vaccinated should know that these vaccines are completely safe, and they benefit everyone,” Rowan Miller (‘24).
Locally in Hillsborough County, 175,789 people —or 12.75% of the county’s population— have received one vaccine dose while 90,597 —or 6.57% of the county’s population— have received both doses and are considered fully vaccinated. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis also said that Florida will lower the vaccine eligibility age to 60 and up starting next Monday, March 15. DeSantis said he also expects to lower the age range in five year increments as vaccine supply increases and demand decreases.
“I got the vaccine. My experience was great! I went to Publix for an appointment and it was a quick and easy process. I would recommend that anyone who is hesitant should take the time to do their own research. There are so many amazing resources out there that can help us better understand what’s available to us,” said High School Theology Teacher Sofia Curry.
We've had a busy week of COVID-19 vaccinations at Ed Radice Park! Thanks to everyone on-site for keeping things running smoothly & helping health care workers, teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers get their first dose. Find more details at https://t.co/WAhiY3gJt6. pic.twitter.com/0uk0sHOLfE
— Hillsborough County (@HillsboroughFL) March 5, 2021
Although this is certainly a step forward towards fully ending the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a long way to go until herd immunity is reached. The Biden administration announced last week that the country will have enough supply for every adult by the end of May, but it could still take a while for those vaccines to be administered.
As for the current vaccination rates, “the country’s seven-day average of daily vaccinations is nearly 2.2 million, and a record-breaking 2.9 million doses were administered on Saturday,” March 6. As of Monday, March 8, about 59 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while about 31 million people — or 9.2% of the U.S. population — are fully vaccinated.
“I am so so hopeful for the future. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine is such a blessing and I’m very excited to slowly start going back to normal life,” said Curry.
This news is certainly encouraging as people all around the United States look forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the end is in sight, like the CDC urges, it is still important to stay cautious and continue safe practices to prevent any further unnecessary deaths.
“The vaccine [is] a light at the end of the tunnel. Although [the pandemic is] not over yet, this was something that had been talked about throughout the midst of the pandemic and now it’s finally here. I think that it has made an impact nationally,” said Adele Politz (‘23).