When this post goes live, I will be two weeks past my second shot of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine. It's hard for me to express how amazed by and grateful I am for the scientists and doctors who managed to create vaccines to end this pandemic. I'm thrilled to have modified RNA running through my veins, shielding me from spiky killers.
A couple weeks ago, I got into a heated discussion with two of my students when they announced that they don't plan to get vaccinated. (One has since said that he just meant that he wasn't going to go out of his way to get it; now that Hotchkiss is bringing a clinic to campus, he plans to participate.) Let me preface my discussion of these kids by saying that both of these boys are gems I've greatly enjoyed getting to teach this year, but in my amazement at hearing their plans, I couldn't articulate the extent of my disappointment in their choice. They ended up rolling their eyes at each other at my tirade, and I ended up exasperated and inarticulate.
They argued that by not getting the vaccine, they're potentially hurting only themselves. So. Not. True. I want to take a moment to point out here, in case any of my readers are considering not getting vaccinated (which is apparently a quarter of the US population), that your free choice could have deadly consequences not only for you but also for many others. Please consider the following:
- People who have compromised immune systems or allergies to certain chemicals can't get vaccinated. The more herd immunity we have, the less likely those people will contract the virus.
- Health care workers and hospitals have been overwhelmed with COVID cases. Their time, energy, and resources are stretched thin by the people suffering from COVID.
- While many people have COVID, we have to keep spending our time and resources on COVID work. That means that not as much research is going towards curing cancers, AIDS, and other deadly illnesses. Medical trials have been put on hold for other diseases while we focus on this one, and people are dying as a result.
- Our country's medical resources aren't distributed equally. While younger, more affluent, and white people have a pretty good chance of surviving COVID if they get it, they could spread it to older and poorer people and people of color, who might not have access to the help they'll need to recover.
- The more people who get infected with this virus, the faster it will mutate and the more likely the vaccine will lose efficacy. If we can slow its spread, we also slow mutation.
[I'm probably not aware of other great reasons to vaccinate. Please add to my list in the comments.]
All this to say, I hope everyone who can get a vaccine will get a vaccine. We won't be able to get back to many of the activities we love until enough of us are vaccinated to protect those who can't be. Even thinking selfishly, we have many reasons to get our shots.
I'm excited to get to see people's smiles again. Below, I list some of the maskless and in-person activities I'm most looking forward to restarting:
- class around one big table
- seeing my distant family and friends
- meals in restaurants
- seeing movies in movie theaters
- English Department Office hanging out
- air and train travel
- NYE and summer parties
- holidays with family
- house guests
- dinner parties/ potluck dinners
- swim/dive meets
- playing hockey
- guest speakers/author readings
- candidate dinners
- going to NHL games (to see my former student! and my favorite team) with my husband
- sitting side-by-side
- book clubs/literary societies
- walks with friends
- all-school meetings in the auditorium
- dining hall meals
- sports practice
- bringing treats for students
- dorm/main building duty
- live theater and concerts and sports events
- AP grading (I know, but I get to see fun people there)
- ISGP and other conferences
- grocery shopping
Add any activities you're excited about resuming in the comments.