I had my second dose of the Moderna m-RNA vaccine yesterday. What comes next?
It takes three weeks to build immunity, and I don’t plan to change what I’ve been doing until then. I have been isolating rather thoroughly. I haven’t been inside a store since last October. I’m taking piano lessons via Zoom. I wear double masks held tight with a clip that pulls the ear loops to the back of my neck. I haven’t seen friends in person since sometime late last summer. My family is at distances that make a year’s separation not extraordinary.
The CDC has promised guidelines on what to do after you’ve had your vaccine, but they haven’t published them yet. Guidelines are difficult to develop because there are so many variables.
Nature magazine, one of the top two science journals in the world, did a survey of 100 immunologists, infectious-disease researchers and virologists working on the coronavirus, asking if they thought that the virus would become endemic in the human population. Ninety percent of them said they thought it would. From just the mathematics of it, and the fact that it’s everywhere in the world now, I agree with that. I don’t see how it can be otherwise.
But that doesn’t mean that our current situation continues. People will be vaccinated; some will acquire immunity by being infected (although current guidance is that they should be vaccinated anyway); and more will continue to die. As immunity spreads, we will be able to relax social precautions, probably this summer or later. We will, perhaps in a couple of years, be able to go back to something like normal.
I received my first dose of the Moderna covid-19 vaccine yesterday. I’m incredibly grateful and find my free-floating anxiety much relieved. I have an appointment for the second dose. No more reaction than a sore arm so far.
But the method of getting it leaves much to be desired.
One of the things that has made endurance difficult through the pandemic is the lack of an endpoint. A great many yardsticks are available from many sources – cases by day or month, numbers of hospital beds available, hospitalizations, deaths – but not when things are likely to get better, when we can see our friends and family in person again, when children can return to school, when we can feel safer.
The measures we have go up and slightly down, then up again. They can be tied to the early call to “open things up” long before it was wise to, with no plans for stopping the spread. They can be tied to the politicization of measures, like mask-wearing, that might have helped to stop the spread. The general movement in numbers has been upwards, to our current state of almost 4000 deaths daily and a total of 400,000 dead, a medium-sized city of Americans gone forever.