Graphic by Sophie McDonald

According to Pew Research, only 60% percent of Americans said they will get the vaccine.

Getting back to normal

New experiences to look forward to in 2021 now that vaccine rolls out

The United States came out with a COVID-19 vaccine that is now being distributed all over the country. This vaccine is currently available for people who work in hospitals and nursing homes, it will be open for the general public sometime in mid to early 2021, therefore this will change many lives and the way people are dealing with COVID. 

Infectious disease experts say that the COVID vaccine is about 70 percent to 95 percent effective depending on what shot people get, but people would still be asked to wear masks. This being said, many people are eager to be able to see family and friends again once the vaccine is open to the public. They trust the vaccine and the effectiveness, therefore many people will be more comfortable being around other people. 

“I trust their expertise and I would feel comfortable being around people again if the numbers of those infected go down to safe levels and a fair amount of the population has been vaccinated… I look forward to seeing family and friends again. It has been really difficult not gathering for birthdays, celebrations, holidays or even for dinner,” social studies teacher Kevin Klancher explained.

The Covid vaccine is very new and there is not a lot of information out there about all of the side effects and long term effects. Many people are on board with this vaccine, but others are wanting to wait to learn more about it. Healthcare workers have been the first people to have the opportunity to take this vaccine and many are lining up right away.

“I think the most important thing to be aware of is that this is a new type of vaccine and there is not a lot of data to prove long-term effectiveness and long-term safety,” Dr. Mark Hill added. “Most folks working in the hospitals were eager to get in line and some health care workers were disappointed when they learned they were not first priority in phase 1a.”

Many schools across Minnesota have been shut down due to COVID including our own Stillwater schools. There is talk about students and staff, beginning with elementary, being back in school early in 2021, many teachers around the district hope that school will be somewhat normal by the end of this year (2020-21) or next year (2021-22). 

“I see our schools being fully open by next August with no limitations other than we still might be required to wear masks,” Klancher said. “I look forward to doing hands-on activities and labs again in my Psychology class and also group projects and partner work in my U.S. History classes.”

Covid has changed many people’s lives, especially those who are working in hospitals. In fact, many people have been quitting their jobs due to safety and because this is not what they “signed up” for. Therefore, many people working in hospitals can’t wait for things to go back to normal in hospitals and everyday life. 

Hill explained, “I look forward to not worrying about whether my N95 is fitting properly or if it is still functioning properly and whether I took it off and stored it correctly.  Several little things affect the day to day workflow. But mostly I look forward to unrestricted socializing with family, friends and colleagues, and venturing out to restaurants, concerts, sporting events and skiing without reservations!”

The Covid vaccine has the potential to change many lives but does not mean the virus will go away instantly.

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