The Beginning Of The End

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Photo by NIAID-RML.

At the time this essay goes live, I will be on the road back home after receiving my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. I will be receiving a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech version. It will be the beginning of the end of my personal concerns about COVID-19… and only the very beginning.

After the first shot, I expect to wait three weeks before being called for the second shot. After that, I still won’t be done. My body will take between two and three weeks to manufacture the required antibodies to afford me a significant measure of protection against contracting the virus.

At that point, I’ll be able to take off the mask when I’m in public places… and I won’t. For a few reasons.

First, there’s peer pressure. People who haven’t yet been vaccinated will get to see other people are still wearing masks, and be encouraged to do so themselves. Second, there’s the opportunity it will afford me to have others initiate conversation about it. For as much as has been made of the conspiracy aspect of vaccine refusal, there is also another strong factor involved: misinformation. Many among those who have recovered from the virus believe they already have the necessary antibodies for immunity; that appears to be true to some degree, but not at a level equivalent to those who have undertaken a full vaccination regimen. This is particularly true when compared against certain variant strains. Having people ask me about the mask will give me the chance to disseminate that knowledge and perhaps encourage more vaccination. Third, and most important for me, is the fact that I want to be a good role model for my daughter, who is as yet unable to receive a vaccine because companies have only recently started testing them for youths.

But we’re trying to get her into a test regimen. If we are successful, and she is fully vaccinated… it still won’t be over.

Until mass vaccinations are performed – and those absolutely must include all public-facing children and those in other nations – we are likely to see continued outbreaks and new variants. Assuming that we hit a 90% vaccination rate, we’ll be fine to ditch the masks… and in reality we’ll probably, as a nation, abandon them long before that… but we’d best be prepared to don them again the moment we get word of an outbreak in our area.

Then, too, there is the likelihood of booster shots being required. Everyone should be expected to stay on top of those.

Viruses can have an end. Smallpox is effectively gone, for that reason. But the end isn’t coming when we get our first shot, our second, or even three weeks after that. It’s just that our lives can return to a much closer approximation of normal with each benchmark we pass – personal vaccination, child vaccination, high percentages of the population, and ever-diminishing outbreaks. How quickly we reach those, if ever, is dependent entirely upon our national and personal will.

About the opinions in this article…

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.