The COVID Vaccine: The Beginning of COVID’s End

With the media offering near-constant images of people getting COVID-19 vaccinations, we are finally seeing light at the end of our long, dark pandemic tunnel. The challenge now is making sure we recognize that the light we see is still off in the distance for most of us.

With the approval of vaccines from a number of drug makers and a process in place for distributing those vaccines, it seems likely that, by mid-year, nearly everyone will have access to the anti-COVID shots.

This roll out is impressive, but it’s also raised concern among some people who worry about how quickly the drug was developed and distributed. However, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been adamant that no corners were cut when it comes to safety. In fact, special measures have been put into place to monitor vaccinations and ensure that there are no problems.

By now, you likely know the basic facts about the vaccination: It is a two-shot process that protects you from COVID-19. Some side effects have been documented, but most people feel little more than some soreness at the injection site and minor flu-like symptoms. While the shot is free to everyone, some providers might charge an administrative fee for providing the vaccines. However, even that likely will be covered by health insurance.

Manufacturers and public health leaders fully expect the vaccines to be effective against COVID-19 and, therefore, to bring an end to the pandemic, they also caution us that protection against the virus isn’t instantaneous. It will take months to vaccinate everyone, and people who receive the vaccine should be aware that it could take a couple of weeks before it is fully protecting them.

As a result, the public is being cautioned to continue to practice the now-familiar anti-COVID safety measures for the foreseeable future. We should continue to wear masks in public, limit our circle of contacts, maintain six feet between us, wash hands frequently, and stay away from people who show symptoms of COVID-19.

Finally, experts say that it’s unclear whether people who contracted COVID-19 will be protected from future infections or for how long, so they suggest that everyone should get the vaccine, even if you already had the COVID virus.

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