Around this time last year, the world was changed. Everything spanning from the way we eat to how close we can get to each other while walking on the sidewalk. You may have heard about this strange virus called COVID-19 across news outlets and probably did not think much of it. So now, a year later as we fight this strange virus, how has it affected you? And, what can we expect?

The Biden Administration has bought 600 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in mid-February to be delivered to hospitals and other vaccination sites by the end of July. Complemented with Johnson & Johnsons pledge to 100 million vaccinations, that is more than enough for America’s 330 million residents. President Biden has stated that the U.S. expects enough COVID-19 vaccines for all adults by the end of May.

There have been many questions and skeptics on whether the COVID vaccinations are safe or not in the media. When you get the vaccine, you may experience side effects such as swelling in your arm, fever, tiredness and chills. Side effects are actually a good sign to let you know whether the vaccine works or not, as your immune system is building energy against the vaccination, therefore doing its job. It is possible that you can still get the virus after the vaccination, although it is rare and often a milder version of the illness, resembling the flu. 

The COVID-19 vaccine. Photo from flickr.

The vaccine works by reducing the transmission of the virus, meaning it does not only protect you but the people around you. The vaccine will not only protect you from COVID-19 but the variants of the virus as well. If you have the vaccination and the people around you are vaccinated, you can take off your mask.

During the time of writing this article, a little less than 1% of the world has been fully vaccinated, while Massachusetts has fully vaccinated 8% of its residents and has given out 1.84 million doses in total. In Malden there are two locations where you can currently get vaccinated, both of the locations being CVS. 10% of the adult population within the U.S. are vaccinated and the number of vaccinations is only expected to rise throughout the rest of winter into spring.

Massachusetts has moved into Phase 2 groups being eligible for vaccination, including people ages 65 and older, health care workers, first responders, low income and senior residents. There has been some concern whether teachers proceeding to hybrid learning will be able to undergo vaccinations. Massachusetts has now made educators and school staff eligible within the Phase 2 group of vaccinations. The vaccination is free but requires some form of identification and confirmation that you are within one of these groups.

Outbreaks have occurred in schools and may continue to occur if people do not follow the guidelines of COVID-19 held previously. Several studies found that transmission between students is generally rare. Many feel that it is important that educators and school staff alike have been vaccinated because the likelihood of transmission between educators and students is low, but the rate of transmission between other staff is higher.

The virus has done its damage on the mental health of students and workers, but be weary not to rush into any hope of normalcy. COVID-19 has had an adverse effect on every aspect of life, that is undeniable, but CDC recommends that you still need to do your part while others are waiting for a vaccine. The process of vaccinations will take its time, yet we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel after all.


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