Our Parish Nurse, Ann Yeo, is excited about the news that two effective, safe vaccines (from the Pfizer and Moderna companies) are now available to prevent COVID-19.  She shares that the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/, offers frequently-updated information on what we need to know about the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program; and she summarizes some key points here:

  • After the COVID-19 vaccination, we may have some temporary side effects. This can be considered to be a normal sign that our immune systems are “revving up,” that our bodies are building protection from the virus.
  • We need 2 doses of either of the currently-available brands of COVID-19 vaccine.  A 2nd injection, of the same brand, 3 or 4 weeks after the 1st dose, is needed to get the most protection that the vaccine has to offer.
  • Because the current supplies of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States are limited, the CDC recommends that the initial supplies be offered to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
  • The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large-enough quantities are available. Once vaccines are widely available, the plan is to have thousands of vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally-qualified health centers.

Once we personally have been vaccinated, then what?  Can we stop masking in public, stop social distancing, safely visit family in the hospital or long-term care facilities, gather in groups, safely travel by plane, etc.?  Scientifically-based judgments on the resumption of those specific aspects of our “normal” lives have not been published yet.  However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said this: “If 75 to 80 percent of Americans are vaccinated, then by the end of 2021, we can reach a degree of normality.”  So no, life probably will not return to our pre-pandemic “normal” until a large majority of us have been vaccinated against COVID-19.  But now, there is hope for the coming year.  A light is visible at the end of the tunnel.

-Ann Yeo, RN, MSN, Certified Holistic Nurse