Get your vaccine as soon as you can and continue maintaining COVID-19 precautions
As we start a new quarter, it’s a good time to remind ourselves to continue practicing safe COVID-19 behavior. A post-pandemic life looks even closer than it ever has, but that’s no excuse for putting ourselves or anyone else at risk.
In just over two weeks on April 15, most college students who were not previously eligible can schedule vaccine appointments, since all Californians over the age of 16 will be eligible recipients. This is exciting news, but it’s important to keep in mind that being fully vaccinated requires waiting two weeks after a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that once individuals are fully vaccinated, they can meet other fully-vaccinated people indoors without masks and can gather with one household of unvaccinated individuals who don’t have an increased risk of severe illness with COVID-19.
With more students receiving the vaccine, bubbles are bound to expand, but make sure to have conversations about what that will look like in your living situation based on whether everyone is fully vaccinated and everyone’s comfort level. Once you are fully vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask in public, you should be avoiding medium to large gatherings and you should be maintaining a similar level of caution.
Even though there has been a national increase in COVID-19 cases, California has had a decrease in cases, hospitalizations and deaths over the past week. But over the past year, increases in cases in the West Coast have followed increases in the East Coast, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. Things looking comparatively better in California right now is not an excuse to forget COVID-19 guidelines that are in place to keep everyone safe.
In an editorial in January, we wondered whether optimism about the vaccine was too much too soon and whether early reopening plans were encouraging people to not worry about COVID-19 as much any more. Perhaps they were—a recent L.A. Times article says that “experts are worried” by some people believing that the pandemic is over. It’s okay to be hopeful and things are definitely looking up, but the pandemic is, in fact, not over. It is a disservice to everyone’s health to act like it is.
The Editorial Board strongly encourages everyone to receive the vaccine once eligible; we all have a responsibility to keep our community safe. By receiving the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we can not only help protect ourselves but also keep moving on a path toward a post-pandemic lifestyle.
You still need to be safe, but once you are fully vaccinated, there are some activities from a long-forgotten “normal” life that you can engage in. Meet a friend at your favorite cafe; go ahead and invite that one (also fully-vaccinated) friend you haven’t seen since March 2020 to your apartment.
Part of the magic of Spring Quarter is the great weather. While you wait to be fully vaccinated and even once you are fully vaccinated, it’s a great time for outdoor meetings—whether that means masking up and going to the Farmers Market, having a picnic or, as the Editorial Board recommends, playing a match of pickleball. There are safe ways to interact with your friends and family; now is not the time to overlook the drastic implications of the pandemic. We’ve made it this far, and for the pandemic to truly be over we all must continue to be safe.
If you or anyone you know has concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, there are resources available. The CDC has information about vaccine safety and effectiveness at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/effectiveness.html. You can schedule an appointment through https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/.
Written by: The Editorial Board