April 3, 2021

Two Shots, Two Weeks, and Ready To...?


Betty and I have passed the magic date and are feeling good. In mid-February, we both received our first dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine. Then, on March 4th, we were jabbed with dose number two. Using the  CDC guideline, we waited two weeks for the vaccine to achieve its full protective power.

So, here we sit, a few weeks later, with a few lingering questions:

1) Now that we have 95% protection, what can we start doing?

2) We still wear a mask to encourage its use by others, but for how long?

3) Will these shots require a booster at some point? When?

4) Is a 5% risk of still getting Covid significant?

5) How can we prove we are vaccinated? The cards we were given after each shot don't look terribly official.

6) If we decide to fly somewhere, will we still be required to get an expensive Covid test within 72 hours of the flight?  So far, Hawaii says, "Yes."


At least for us, the number of questions we have now is almost as many as existed twelve months ago. Sure, we feel much safer. We have resumed weekly Sunday dinners with our immediate family. We no longer cringe when someone coughs; it could just be a cold. We have started going back to the gym because it continues to enforce mask mandates and distancing protocols. 

Obviously, though, the shots did not completely quell our uneasiness. Hence the questions above. Questions that are probably unanswerable, at least in the short term. There has not enough in-the-field, real-world data to know whether we are protected for six months, one year, a decade, or a lifetime. 

With at least a quarter of the American population against being vaccinated for a whole basketful of reasons, when does the majority decide, well, they made their bed. Good luck. It is just a bloody shame front-line health workers, teachers, and others will have to accommodate their refusal. 

We are done with mask breath and trying to communicate through a cloth. We miss hugs and handshakes. Concerts, plays, sporting events? Yes, I remember them.  When will they safely restart? Will the unvaccinated be in attendance? 

I'd love to have you share your experience, fears or insecurities, and what you believe our future world will look like. Will there be vaccination passports for travel? Will schools have a problem with children who come from an anti-vax household? Eventually, will the fear of being protected by a shot fade as the evidence of its protection grows?

Ultimately, I guess I wonder when masks go into a momento box, to be shown to a future generation, as a mark of this time in our life story?


66 comments:

  1. I get my second dose of Moderna later this month so I am feeling grateful! According to what I read, two doses can proved 95% efficacy against contracting COVID and 100% against hospitalization. To me, that is an important distinction because I can relate it to more like the flu at that point. I have had the flu but have never been hospitalized. I still don't want to get COVID. After my second dose and the appropriate waiting period, I will still always wear a mask at the grocery store and anywhere there are lots of people. That is one of the long term changes to my behavior due to COVID.

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    1. My gym has relaxed the mask-wearing rules to the point where very few have them on. I will continue to be the exception to the rule for now. Most of those exercising are less than half my age, meaning they have yet to be vaccinated. I may be technically safe, but feel more comfortable being masked.

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  2. In my state the older you are the earlier you get a shot. I just got the first Moderna jab on 3/29 and the second one, if nobody changes the rules, comes on 4/26. We will be wearing masks in public for quite a while, it seems, to protect the unwilling and ourselves, since nobody seems to know how long the shots last. The one thing we might do is visit with husband's family on Memorial Day. Other than that, we don't go out much.

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    1. We are going out for dinner tonight, rather than pick up and bring home. The weather is warm, so we will probably pick someplace with an outside patio which feels safer than being in a dining room. Even though the state has relaxed mask and occupancy rules, we know those are political decisions, not scientific ones. So, we will continue to play it safe.

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  3. My wife and I have both shots and I'm past my two weeks. She will be at the two week mark next Friday. We are feeling confident in our ability to get out more. I don't cringe as much when I see someone unmasked as I feel I'm covered and they are the one taking the risk. We are looking forward to more interaction with neighbors and friends this spring and summer. As stated by the first comment, we are most excited about the 100% chance of not being hospitalized or dying from the virus.

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    1. I actually bought tickets to a live play at the end of May. There will be social distancing and mask rules will remain, so that felt safe to us.

      Covid has tremendous long term negative results on the human body and brain. For those who suffered through it before vaccinations were available, my heart goes out to them. It is a miserable disease.

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  4. Spouse is fully vaccinated, I will get my second shot in a week.

    As soon as I got my first vaccine date, I counted forward five weeks (Pfizer) and started setting up dine out dates with friends that are also vaccinated, plus some overnight guest bookings here with, again, vaccinated friends. I am so excited!

    We have not dined indoors since the pandemic began. Once I'm fully 'baked' we will feel comfortable returning to doing so. We also agree we are ready to return to indoor entertainment activities as they begin to reopen, as long as the venue enforces mask wearing.

    We have been comfortable RV'ing throughout the entire pandemic. We are not yet ready to return to travel outside of the USA because of our inability to control another country shutting down on short notice. It's too much money to tie up on a situation outside of our control, so we'll wait a while longer. Instead, I can see us doing fly and stay trips here. On my list of one month stays would be NYC, Boston and Seattle, so that should keep us occupied for a while, in addition to our RV'ing. The exception is Germany, where our daughter and here Navy-husband will shortly be moving with our granddaughters. We will fly there, even if it involves quarantining upon arrival, just as soon as they allow USA travelers. For them we are willing to take some financial risk.

    I am ecstatic that museums are reopening. I already have a date with a vaccinated girlfriend to visit a nearby museum, followed by lunch. I missed doing this tremendously over the past year.

    Bottom line is that I feel the vaccine returns a certain level of assurance that we will not become ill enough to need hospitalization. Mask wearing improves those odds even more, so we will continue to wear them for as long as necessary. Such a small price to pay in exchange for life opening back up.

    Vaccinations will become a deal breaker for us, personally. We will likely decline to see friends that refuse to be vaccinated because of what it communicates to us on multiple levels. To date, fortunately, we have not come across anyone in our social or family circle that is not focused on getting vaccinated ASAP.

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    1. I didn't realize your family with granddaughter would be moving so far away. Yes, I would take the risk and make the plans if that were my situation.

      Your summary is excellent, and the last paragraph really resonates with Betty and me. If someone choose to not take the help offered, we will not validate that choice by being with them. Even if we are safe, to be in their presence says we are OK with their decision. Of course, they have the right to selfishly risk sickness and death for themselves and others. But, we don't have to appear supportive.

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  5. I am still on the cautious side. I have not yet hsd dinner outdoors but hope to soon...but will only do so in a place where waiters are masked ( trust me, that them standing over and above you thing while droplets fall is very high risk). I'll be attending my first quilt group still masked. In my case my social group is not only people of my age or close to my age and many of them will not have vaccinated in the near future. I am slightly worried about variants. I did go to church this past week where there was masking and limited attendance and distancing (there was wine mingled into the wafers). I am.looking at some day drives and travel to a b and b at the end of the summer. Cases are rising as I type this and I don't think we can stop being careful. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel and I look forward to a very semi normal summer.

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    1. Our first long distance trip will be to Hawaii in September. At the moment, that state remains rather restrictive in testing requirements and quarantines, but as time goes by we are keeping our fingers crossed that things will relax a bit. We will not hesitate to cancel if there is another wave or Hawaii remains difficult to get into.

      Even so, like you, I feel confident in both our battle against this disease and the positive direction the country is moving.

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  6. Ps next week is a large outdoor fair in a neighboring town. I'm slightly hesitant but I can't decide whether it's the safety thing or the simple act of going into a crowd after being alone that'd my trigger.

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    1. That hesitancy is to be expected after 12 months of fear and uncertainty.

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    2. A large outdoor fair will likely have a good number of UN vaccinated people walking around.Check out how busy it is, how close you have to get, and if they ill be wearing masks.that said,IU am not comfortable at all going into crowds at this time. Small groups, all vaccinated,people I know personally.I am good with that amt,. Of freedom right now.

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    3. Madeline I'm still considering this. Part of it vves a very large showing of butterfly quilts that I would like to see.

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  7. I have come out of retirement to administer vaccines until my RN license expires. We have official CDC cards to complete with name/DOB, vacc location, lot #, date of vacc and manufacturer. This card "should" be recognized as official. If you didn't receive one, I suggest going back to your administration site and getting one. All sites should be using this card as it was designed for this official purpose.

    I'm with you on the "how long am I covered". We're barely coming up on the 1st cohort of clinical trial phase 1.

    I will hang out freely with a group all of whom are fully vaccinated and feel comfortable without mask or distancing. I've made it this far and I won't let down my guard. Too much education on infection prevention in my career and fully trust science as it learns along this C-19 road we're traveling.

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    1. We have the cards you are referring to, but they are easily counterfeited and the states have not agree on their acceptability. At the moment, there is no national or international standard agreed upon. The idea of a vaccination passport makes perfect sense. Even so, you know there will be those who rebel and view it as Big Brother intrusion. Fine, then don't travel.

      Just like you need a driver's license and a passport to leave and return to this country, a valid document that proves you have been protected just makes common sense. I guess that is the problem.

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    2. Thank you, Elle, for your service and for your generosity of time and spirit. The COVID vaccination project is a huge undertaking. I can't even imagine the logistics involved, but I'm sure the involvement of experienced professionals like yourself is going a long way toward streamlining the process.

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    3. You're welcome Mary. The logistics are astounding and they change daily with the quantity of vaccine arriving. IE: On Wednesday, we had 450 scheduled patients Friday. When I arrived Friday, we had 901. This requires doubling the vaccinators, registrars, pharmacists to draw up doses....... and orchestrate perfectly so as to waste not a single dose! Call up eligible candidates to come in last minute to cover a no-show so as to not waste a single dose.

      Bob, I think the CDC did the best they could on a quick need. Anything in the world can be counterfeited including legal passports so I really don't place too much energy on this issue. Criminals will surface and I'll keep my focus on vacc administration and let someone else worry about the document. I only know I've served my patients with a well-documented vaccine :-)

      Be well everyone!

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  8. Us Canadians are a fair way behind the US in the vaccination effort and we are still some weeks away from getting our first shot, which is partly our own fault as we are at our house in Mexico at the moment. Back home in Ontario they have just opened up vaccinations to our age group (65+) in the last few days but our return flight isn't until April 20th. Even after we get home we'll have to quarantine for 14 days which means May 5th is the earliest date for our first shot. Based on the British experience of getting the first dose in as many arms as possible (i.e. some protection being better than no protection) the guidance from Health Canada is now up to 4 months between shots except for vulnerable people, mostly those in long term care and retirement homes who will stay on the 3 or 4 week schedule depending on which vaccine. The expectation is that all who want one will have had their first shot by the end of June.

    Ontario is also now in the 3rd wave, mostly due to the B.1.1.7. variant, and has just entered into yet another full on "lockdown" that is set to last until the end of April at the earliest. Quite honestly it is all so disheartening. The vaccinations are rolling out and it feel like we are so close and yet so far from the finish.

    Your question about "Is a 5% risk of still getting Covid significant". The thing with the vaccines is not the efficacy rate in the clinical trial, which is affected by a whole host of factors in the clinical trial itself. The important metric is: Does the vaccine keep you out of hospital and protect you so you don't die from Covid-19? All the approved vaccines have 100% effectiveness against hospitalization and death. You might still get Covid-19 but if you are vaccinated you may feel a bit under the weather for a few days or like you have a cold. That's the goal of the vaccines and it is what the vaccines appear to be doing in the real world.

    I think that an annual Covid booster shot is all but inevitable. Covid-19 is circulating widely throughout the world and will continue to spawn new variants that more than likely will require a booster shot similar to the annual flu shot. A booster might not be necessary but I'd be surprised if it weren't.

    Covid passports for international travel will probably be a requirement for the foreseeable future though I wouldn't expect that for domestic travel once the vaccination rollout is more or less complete. For us we hope to travel to Europe in 2022. My wife wants to see her only sibling who lives in France and we aren't getting any younger. Soon enough long distance travel overseas might be more than we want to endure.

    For us, 2 weeks after our first shot and if our daughter allows it, I will take the chance and see our grandchildren. It's been a long time since we've been able to see and hug them. Heck, we haven't even had a family meal with them for what feels like forever. Restaurant dining and similar indoor activities will be off the table for us until we've had our full course of vaccinations and probably not even then until things settle down, perhaps by the fall but we'll see. Ontario was in a 2nd wave lockdown when we left for Mexico in December and we'll be returning in the middle of the 3rd wave lockdown. It just keeps going and going.

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    1. I had no idea of the conditions in Canada. That has to be beyond bothersome. Four months between shots? That sounds like terrible planning on someone's part. I have been reading that the U.S. is about to have too many shots backing up in warehouses and such. Can't we send extra does north? BTW, France just went back into total lockdown, again. Glad you are thinking 2022 for a trip there.

      I couldn't have lasted as long as you have without seeing the grandkids. Even though ours live 10 minutes away, we did have to take 6 weeks off because of sickness in their school. That was terrible...so close yet so far! Now, both sets of grandparents and my daughter and husband have had shots, we are back to our regular Sunday night dinners and occasional sleepovers here.


      Thanks for the 5% answer. That makes me feel much better.

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    2. You may feel like you “have a cold” is absolutely incorrect. I have relatives who did not need hospitalization but were very sick at home, the fatigue,cough, and lethargy lasted a month or more. I am THRILEED we can avoid hospitalization but we musn’t underplay the idea that Covid can still make you very sick at home and eat up a month or more of your life.Being older, bouncing back takes longer too. That said,I am glad I can relax about needing to be on a ventilator but this is still one serious illness.

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    3. The main reason for the vaccination delay in Canada is that none of approved vaccines are manufactured in Canada. The Canadian government did most of the right things with advanced purchases etc. but when you can't manufacture them at home and there's a worldwide shortage it causes issues. The main problem has been getting the export permits for the vaccines from the countries where the vaccines are manufactured (primarily the US and EU). Understandably they want the vaccines produced in their country for their own people first. That said recently exports from the EU to Canada have ramped up significantly and just this week the US loaned 1-1/2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada. These AZ vaccines had been produced and stockpiled in the US but not yet approved for use in the US so they were just sitting there while the AZ vaccine has been approved in Canada. Many thanks to the US administration for making an exception and releasing those vaccines to Canada.

      As I said before the 4 months between doses was based on the British experience (though they are delaying 3 months not 4). Four months is a long time between shots though it's not unusual for other vaccinations, it was something like that for our pneumonia vaccinations we had a couple of years ago. In any case the scientists and medical people in Canada who decide these things felt that 4 months between shots was an acceptable trade-off to get people their first shot more quickly. The British experience with 3 months between shots has been good and their hospitalizations and deaths have dropped precipitously even with just the single dose. As I said - some protection is better than no protection.

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    4. Madeline Hill, sorry I didn't mean to underplay it. As we know this virus affect some people much more than others, my 38 year old daughter had Covid-19 and other than losing her sense of smell she wouldn't have known she had it. With others, as we all know only too well, it can lead to severe illness and death plus the new variants appear to be even more deadly. That said, from what I know, if you've had the full course of vaccinations the chances of you being hospitalized or dying from Covid-19 is very slim.

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    5. This makes me sad. Studies show 42 days maximum between doses for Pfizer (the one we have 90% of the time). 21 days is most desirable. It will be interesting to learn the efficacy of this. At least the first gives 60-70% coverage and at least has a high rate of preventing hospitalization/death! The upside of 1 vaccine.

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  9. We will continue to wear masks for the same reason we did in the beginning, protecting others. We have both had two shots and are past the 2wk timeframe. I think you should probably expect that about 30% of people you encounter will not be vaccinated. I would not expect that number to come down. With a significant percentage of the population resistant to getting a vaccine and the vast areas of the world that will never be vaccinated variants are the real future risk. Perhaps those of us vaccinated will be protected from the variants. The non-vaxxers take the risk that new variants are significantly more deadly. We have just come through the equivalent of a world war. In the US we lost more people than WWI & WWII combined. Soon you will be able to throw in Vietnam also. Hopefully it is almost over. Hopefully is the key word. No one can possibly know if that is true. Taking all of the above into account we will start letting our guard down some. A few restaurants. No cruise ships, concerts or packed and rowdy bars. I would take a plane trip but would remain masked during travel. Most of all we will be closely watching for signs of a significant spread of a new variant and the reaction to it by those with a vaccine. We already know a large percentage of the population will not step up. Those of us that are older or in a group that is more susceptible to Covid are on their own when it comes to protecting themselves.

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    1. No cruise ships for us, probably ever again.COncerts/etc: Good friends of ours who are unvaccinated got tickets to local theater. They were notified a couple days later that the people sitting next to them tested positive for Covid and they had to quarantine for 14 days.Luckily, they did not get sick.But I personally do not need to sit in a concert hall any time soon when such a small percentage of people are actually vaccinated! (In my state,anyway.)

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    2. The anti-vax cries of freedom to get sick and infect others rings so hollow...and selfish. This mindset is the epitome of the "Me" culture that places individual behavior above any sense of community. The death toll alone should trigger some empathy in normal human beings.

      I image boosters will be required. Could they replace or be blended with the annual flu shot? That would make sense.

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  10. With every month the vaccine's effectiveness drops a few percentages. They talked about this on the Covid-19 TV special this week. I think wearing masks in large gatherings should still be a requirement and I will do it whether it's mandated or not. I live in an area where there are a lot of anti-vaccers so it's just one more measure to keep me safe. Keep us all safe. The virus and its mutations are on the rise world wide again. It's going to be with us at least a couple more years.

    To be around others who have also been vaccinated without our masks and without social distancing is safe enough, though. And as people start going back to life as we knew it, I think they will come up with better cards we'll have to show to be allowed back to certain things like air travel, large music and sporting events. A large Indian casino near me just opened back up and will require proof you've had the shots. They are also giving you $25 worth of free chips with your vaccine proof every time you go there now through May. I can see a wave of this kind of thing happening across the country.

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    1. P.S. Someone on another blog pointed out that the military is used to having to carry proof of vaccinations when they travel to other countries. Why should Covid be any different? Well, except for the crazies who think it's all about politics and are making the pandemic last longer than it needs to be.

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    2. There are all sorts of rules, documents and licenses required to participate in normal life. Why this particular situation triggered such a self-defeating reaction is beyond me.

      Betty and I will keep masks with us for the foreseeable future. Most stores require them, though I notice enforcement of that "requirement" is more lax than it was a few months ago.

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  11. Everyone has covid fatigue but I still rely on the science.The variants are a concern.A LOT of people still have NOT been vaccinated.In Arizona, many of those people are out there without masks.At Fry’s yesterday morning half the patrons were NOT wearing a mask. I will stick with Trader Joe where everyone seems to be complying.

    Ken and I are a month past both shots. We will still not eat in restaurants.In Az. They are at 100% capacity and no masks,so that is a LOT of germs/virus/pathogens floating around,getting onto glassware,dishes,silverware,etc. No thanks.

    Outdoor patios: I don’t feel comfortable.For same reasons as above..too crowded.Ken is more open to outdoor dining.

    Travel: We will be making local trips all summer. .where we can drive and rent our own airbnb and cook or get takeout.If the patio dining is not crowded, by end of April , I would think about eating outdoors in a small town .

    I’d LOVE to drive to California but they have a large number of cases due to the variant and I’m not interested in being exposed to that.

    Masks: I am ok with masks. Indoor buildings like libraries, grocery stores,etc..I feel much safer.But not if too many are in there, and NOT wearing THEIR mask. (MANY people are NOT YET VACCINATED!!)

    I am meeting with 3 different groups: My art studio only allows max. 7 of us in at one session.ALL must be vaccinated, and if EVERY one of us is comfortable, we remove masks,but we keep some distance. Food Bank: Everyone is vaccinated, we wear masks while working.And try to distance. ALso not too many people in one area at a time.I work the outdoor patio. Card playing: My 3 best friends are all vaccinated, we meet in each other’s homes or patios, and no masks now.

    I won’t be hanging out with unvaccinated people.

    LIKE EVERYONE I want very much for all this to be OVER but as a retired RN,I can’t ignore the fact that we truly don’t know a lot about how LONG immunity lasts, the variant situation, and also am waiting till MANY MORE PEOPLE are vaccinated till I I feel truly safe.

    Foreign travel: No thanks..Maybe 2022??

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    1. You highlight much of the problem at the moment: topo many questions and too many variables to be comfortable. I'm with Ken on outdoor dining, but understand your hesitancy.

      We had a VRBO place in Prescott two weeks ago. Even though their cleaning protocol was solid, Betty wiped down virtually every surface in the place before we fully moved in. The town was about 50% masked, which is typical for the rest of the state, I gather.

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    2. Marilyn, check your California numbers again! We're doing great currently - vaccine percentages are climbing quickly and rates of infection are down dramatically. Of course that could change, but currently we're looking very solid.

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  12. P.S. The women in my book club have not all been able to get both shots yet and all of them also just do not feel comfortable yet, meeting indoors together .We have a tentative date of end of June for a gathering on someone’s large outdoor patio, maybe with masks. We are honoring the wishes of everyone,so if even ONE person feels need for masks,we will We have been meeting on ZOOM since last year. .

    Personally,I have developed a ton of PATIENCE as I have gotten older, and I find it useful now. We need to go slowly.

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    1. The Friends of Chandler Public Library board has an in-person meeting in mid-Aril, which will be the first since last February. Two of the seven board members haven't had their shots yet, or have a child at home, so they prefer to participate virtually. We will have a combination in-person/Zoom meeting. As you note, it is important to make everyone feel comfortable.

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  13. Hi Bob! My husband and I are both fully vaccinated with nearly a month passed since our 2nd shot. We recently took a trip to Algodones for some much needed dental work (on my husband's part). Everyone was wearing masks across the border and taking precautions but my husband said (after 3 days in the chair with his mouth open) "I would not have been comfortable doing that without being fully vaccinated." So far so good! We also stayed in a hotel for the first time since COVID and although they too had good protocols it still felt strange.

    On the other hand, while we have had many outdoor meals with others since then we have not eaten indoors and don't plan to for sometime. We wear masks when shopping and around others we don't know. We also won't go into theaters or casinos for some time to come. A year long process of habits is not easily forgotten.

    As far as vacation plans go, we plan to drive to British Columbia this summer (if they let us cross the border!) but will be driving, not flying. Our first flight is planned in December when we hope to fly to Mexico for a month. Keeping fingers crossed that more and more people get vaccinated. ~Kathy

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    1. I saw your Facebook info about the trip into Mexico. I assume you were able to cross back and forth with no major issues?

      We have friends near London who we really want to see, but have told them 2022 at the earliest.

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  14. I have been fully vaccinated since February and I wear a mask every day, but that requirement is being lifted in my state this month, unfortunately. Since I have known several who have died, and countless others with long term Covid issues, I am debating retirement. I deal with hundreds of folks in court and we are about to resume most in person court. If the mask requirement is still required in government buildings, I will continue working. If not, I am truly thinking hard about retirement. I really wanted to work four more years, but not maskless with variant Covid risks. My thing is, I have had the flu before, and it was awful. I do not want to feel like that ever again. I am fairly careful in my personal life. I just resumed going back to the doctor and dentist after taking last year off. I still shop on line, mostly, and only run in and out for fresh vegetables, eggs, cheese, etc. I attend church on line and I am not comfortable going back without masks, and with singing going on when the mask ordinance is lifted. So, the only question is if I will continue to work where I will be exposed to hundreds of folks. If masked, yes, if not, then I will probably take early retirement. It really is as simple as that. Folks do not socially distance very well in court. They get up in your personal space trying to make their point. Normally, it does not bother me. These are not normal times, however.

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    1. That's a very interesting situation, Cindy, and one you have put a lot of thought into. Retirement happens for all sorts of reasons, and yours makes perfect sense if that is what you decide to do.

      In the end we must do what is best for us and that includes taking the necessary steps to feel safe. Notice I didn't say, be safe, but feel safe. It is very much an emotional calculation we all must go through.

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  15. We've been double-dosed since mid-February but we are still being careful. We did have another double-dosed - and careful - couple over for dinner sans masks (we even hugged) which felt safe - and was wonderful. We will probably do that again this month with another double-doser. Other than that, it's pretty much the same. We always wear masks in public and we avoid others as much as possible.

    We have much the same questions as you do. I really wish we had a more secure way to identify those who have been fully vaccined. Fortunately, we don't have any anti-vaxxer friends but wouldn't it be great if those who weren't dosed had some flashing light warning signal on their foreheads? Maybe two lights if they had no shot, one after the first, and then none when fully vaccinated. (I'm just kidding... sort of.)

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    1. I just read one of the dumbest statements by a public official, and there have been a lot of stupidness recently. The Governor of Florida has just announced that vaccine passports will not be legal in Florida. He pulls out the personal freedom issue to appeal to those who see a deadly illness as something nefarious.

      Of course, no one is saying such a document will be government-mandated, though private businesses will have the right to deny service to someone without one. Airplanes, ships, sporting and concert venues will very likely want to ensure that those who use its services are safe to allow near others. Florida will find itself on the wrong end of that particular stick.

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  16. Reading these comments has made me realize we perhaps not quite as careful as many others seem to be. Nonetheless we try not to take too many unnecessary risks. But what’s unnecessary to some may not be to others. We have been fully vaccinated since February, but even prior to that we went out to restaurants, occasionally indoors and with one or two other couples. We’ve just booked a trip to Singapore and Thailand in December to see our daughters first child who will be born in August. Fingers crossed things don’t get worse. We may also go to Italy in September, but that seems less likely. We play Pickleball outdoors fairly often, but have stopped indoor playing for now. I take pottery a few times a week which has been a lifeline for me. The studio has cut the number of people in a class in half and has installed plexus glass between students so we feel fairly safe. We lost two friends/neighbors to Covid on the same day in January, but both had underlying conditions. Neither one of us do and we’re grateful for that.

    One thing that I’m wondering about and maybe you or someone else can clarify...the vaccine doesn’t prevent one from contracting the virus. At least that’s my understanding. It simply makes the symptoms less severe. So if you’re vaccinated, what difference does it make if the person(s) you’re with is?

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    1. With a 95% effective rate, that means 95 out of a 100 people cannot become infected or suffer any symptoms from Covid after being vaccinated. The 5% left can get symptoms, but they will be much less severe, feeling more like a normal case of the flu. What has yet to be determined is if you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on to others, even after you receive shots.

      If you have been vaccinated you are very safe from any effects at all. But, you could infect the other person without knowing it. So, out of an abundance of caution, wearing a mask or only mixing closely with people who have been vaccinated is the safest course.

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    2. Thanks Bob, but I am still confused. If 95% of the people who are vaccinated will not get the virus or if they do, their symptoms will be less severe, then why does it matter if the person or persons you’re with has received the vaccination? Some people have indicated they will not associate with those that have not been vaccinated and I’m trying to determine why. Not trying to be argumentative. Just trying to understand.

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    3. Thanks Bob, but I am still confused. If 95% of the people who are vaccinated will not get the virus or if they do, their symptoms will be less severe, then why does it matter if the person or persons you’re with has received the vaccination? Some people have indicated they will not associate with those that have not been vaccinated and I’m trying to determine why. Not trying to be argumentative. Just trying to understand.

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  17. With two shots under our belts, we're planning on some travel this summer but trying to be cautious about it. Airbnb instead of a hotel, for example, to limit public exposure. And we'll be wearing masks. My wife says I look better with a mask on anyway!

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    1. Doesn't it feel odd to be somewhere without a mask on? Being vaccinated, I am about as safe as anyone can be. But, I don't feel comfortable without it.

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  18. I live in central Florida and while most businesses require masks, they don't turn people away who aren't wearing them and we have a lot of those. Spring breakers are here in droves especially in South Florida. No social distancing or mask wearing by them
    That being said I got my 2nd shot on the 22nd of last month and will be attending church for the first time in almost a year. I will be wearing a mask.
    Yes our governor is an idiot but I didn't vote for him

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    1. Mr. DeSantis is working hard to be as dense and out of touch with reality as his hero, the former resident of the White House. A run for president in 2024 is on his horizon. God help us all.

      Spring breakers are a dangerous plague on your state. I was encouraged to see the police rein in some of the worst behavior. But, expect a surge in cases within the next few weeks, both in Florida and wherever the students go when they return home.

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  19. We like you are in AZ and had the Pfizer shot, with the last shot the end of February (we are both still teaching part time so were in with the educators).

    This is my take on your questions:

    1) Now that we have 95% protection, what can we start doing?
    I will start traveling and seeing family (also mostly or all vaccinated other than kids). Road trip this summer and then we are looking at some cruises for fall (hope they will be started again by then).

    2) We still wear a mask to encourage its use by others, but for how long?
    I will wear a mask until the case count is down to a low level and stays that way for "awhile".
    I may still opt for it even after that if we are in crowded places. Of course I will wear it when it is required by a business.

    3) Will these shots require a booster at some point? When?
    I expect there will be a booster, and it could be every year like the flu shot. Since those that were part of the test group still have good antibody levels I hope it won't have to be more often than once a year. Time will answer that one for us.

    4) Is a 5% risk of still getting Covid significant?
    Like someone one else said in the comments, it is 5% risk of getting it, but pretty much 0% risk of severe illness.

    5) How can we prove we are vaccinated? The cards we were given after each shot don't look terribly official.
    I am sure there will be a way. Even if the US does not require it other countries most likely will. Right now I have photos of my card on my phone.

    6) If we decide to fly somewhere, will we still be required to get an expensive Covid test within 72 hours of the flight? So far, Hawaii says, "Yes."
    CDC just said for domestic flights no quarantine or COVID tests will be needed. I assume that both Hawaii and Alaska are considered domestic since they don't require you to leave the country.

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    1. It seems that you and I have the same basic playbook moving forward. I did read somewhere that cruise lines will not start up again until 2022, but that likely depends on rapidly evolving conditions.

      I hope the CDC statement is accepted by Hawaii. Unfortunately, states dictate their rules; the CDC is only able to advise. Hawaii has been very cautious throughout this whole event and their low infection rate proves their point.

      While they may never be mandatory, I would be very happy to have an "official" vaccination card that smooths travel.

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  20. Due to a slight difference in age, Alan is already fully vaccinated but I won't get my first shot for two more weeks. Even after both of us are fully vaccinated, we'll remain cautious and conservative in our activities. We'll continue to wear masks in public and refrain from indoor dining for the foreseeable future. Truthfully, the pandemic hasn't negatively impacted us as much as others. Both of us are homebodies, and our favorite activities - camping and boating - make it easy to remain physically distanced from those outside our family bubble. When we travel by RV, we're exposed at gas stations and grocery stores just like when we're at home, so the resumption of our travels this year shouldn't increase our risk in a significant way. David commented that he believes an annual COVID vaccination is all but inevitable. Sadly, I find myself hoping that to be true. We won't really know how long the vaccine will protect us for quite some time. The last thing I'd want to do is let down my guard then find out the hard way my protection had lapsed.

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    1. Because of Covid's ability to continue to mutate, yearly shots are almost a given. I get a yearly flu shot, so that is no biggie.

      Like you and Alan we are quite comfortable at home. But for us the most upsetting part of the last year has been the way Covid has split the country over what seems like a noncontroversial issue: preventing 550,000 deaths by listening to science and applying common sense.

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  21. My first vaccination is done. I'll get the 2nd dose when it's available. I'm not getting vaccinated so I can take a flight or attend a concert. I'm getting vaccinated so hopefully some herd immunity will be developed. There's much speculation about efficacy in the general vaccinated population, the protection against the variants, the need for booster vaccination, etc. I'm going to let the scientists/epidemiologists/public health specialists determine the next step and not make assumptions about how it will all turn out. With every step in this pandemic, there seems to be something to go on about. I don't want to see another great divide between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. I do believe in the right to choose with an acceptance of the consequences. And in the meantime, I will do what I learned in kindergarten - cover my mouth, wash my hands and be kind.

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    1. "Acceptance of the consequences" is key, is it not? If someone refuses to protect themselves, that is their choice. Unfortunately, that decision potentially afffects others in deadly ways.

      So, no vaccine, you choose no public exposure, meaning no planes, concerts, plays, or sporting events. That is the choice the rest of us make regarding your decision.

      By the way, your kindergarten guideline works wonders!

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    2. It also stresses the medical system, exposes those that can't do the vaccine for assorted reasons.
      It also continues to place our medical staff at higher risk as well.
      While you can accept your own consequences/risks, doesn't seem fair to be able to put others at higher risk. There has to be a balance between your choices and your responsibilities, which you touched on with your comment about no public exposure.

      There are starting to be real world results on vaccine success. I read an article last night that in the real world they are seen 91% (including from the South Africa variant)protection from catching COVID and 100% from severe disease. They are also seeing very decreased risk of transmission from a vaccinated person. We will see of those results hold over time, but so far it seems to be good news.

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  22. I saw this headline in the newspaper today that I think sums up what we are all feeling right now: "Finish-line anxiety is now the defining feature of pandemic life"

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    1. That's a good one. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel...let's all pray it isn't an oncoming train.

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    2. Tapping my toe hoping to get J&J this week or early next. I finally fell into the "approved age" last week- but too late to get vaccinated with M or P and still be here for the second vaccine. I will get one of the mighty two IF I cannot get J&J and will travel with one shot. At least I will be home in time for the second shot. Happens. Timing stinks. Family stuff.
      Once I am vaccinated I plan on doing a few more family trips---but I will look and act like I haven't been vaccinated. Masks, wipes and occasional gloves. I figure we will be done with all of masks, domestically, by the
      end of September. Except children under 10, I figure all of my family will be fully vaccinated by end of May. I don't see going to any third world countries, or the EU, till late 22 or early 23.
      I, fully, expect a yearly booster for J&J. It seems be worse when we are inside gathered--so winter for me. The other shots---I don't know. If it changes your RNA why does it need a booster? But I would get one if they said I needed one. I get measles shots, tetanus shots, Whooping cough shots, it would just be a part of staying healthy in today's world.
      Looking forward to people on both sides not being nasty at each other anymore. Really looking forward to that most of all.



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    3. If you have your card with you, you could check to see if you can get the second shot where you are going. Might be possible.

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    4. It does not change your RNA.
      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html

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    5. Getting J&J tomorrow.
      Woo Hoo! Travel comfort. Choices in masks may change. More comfortable, easier on the eye glasses.
      Hugging my vaccinated family for the first time in a year.
      Life is good.
      Didn't mean to throw shade on the other shots. I really did not look into them much. My husband got his two, so has much of my family. I only read that the protein is changed---so I wondered ---out loud--- about the reason to get a booster.....Pardon me my phrasing.

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    6. https://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2020/12/inside-the-new-mrna-vaccines-for-covid-19/ Here is an explanation of the way the mRNA works in a cell to provide immune response. I am not a scientist, but it looks like the process is the same as if a true corona virus invades, but there is such a limited and not overwhelming amount, that there is just enough to build up the immune response, the goal in all types of vaccines. No vaccines change the human cell structure or DNA, but use various methods to inoculate and train the body to recognize an invader and use the immune system to shut down the virus before it can become dangerous to the human. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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  23. We are both vaccinated but somehow there are so many people who aren't that we're still pretty cautious. DH is having lunch indoors today with two of his (completely vaccinated) buddies and he's playing golf again, but otherwise, not much has changed. Like many of you, we're not keen on hanging out with anyone who doesn't want to be vaccinated - both for the germs and the attitude. I will never understand how needing shots to enter school, needing a flu shot to volunteer for hospice, needing other government issued documents to do many, many things is any different than this Covid vaccine. But then again, logic seems to have left the building on many fronts in the US right now.

    I did buy a ticket to go back to England and see my DD's little family. Granddaughter is turning one in May and they've been locked down alone for a long time. I did this last fall and felt quite safe. I will be masked and distanced as possible. The international flights are not likely to be full yet, although the UK is lifting restrictions bit by bit and I want to get ahead of a full on rush if it occurs this summer. DD will send a car to the airport and I'll be driven directly to their home where I will quarantine. I'll need Covid tests even though I've been double dosed with vaccine...so far that doesn't seem to hold much water vs testing. One test within 72 hours of flying, two while there on Days 2 & 8, and one to return to the US. Ugh. Less flight choices than last September, and I'll have longer layovers. The rest of the year, we'll only be driving in the continental US if we go anywhere.

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    1. I do understand not getting vaccinated if the concern is about the newness of the shots and lack of longer term studies.

      But, if the choice is driven by politics or making a statement about personal freedoms, then count me out.

      The number of tests after receiving both shots seems self-defeating. If one of the reasons for getting the shots is to eliminate the hassles, then multiple checks might prompt some to say, why bother?

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  24. My concern is about children and young adults. All of our family and extended family will be fully vaccinated by the end of April except the children.

    Science has said that 12 years and up are safe to be vaccinated but we do not have studies for how the vaccine will effect body and brain development in children and young adults that are still growing and developing. How will we know except in real time? Does anyone have any valid information?

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