vaccination needle going into arm

Last week, I started volunteering at a vaccination site in San Jose where over 1500 people are receiving vaccinations every day. Prior to my start, I went through extensive education and training, which is essential because there are so many questions about Covid. I met people from all walks of life, which you can read about here: Volunteering at a Vaccine Site

I heard this question at least 100 times yesterday, “Now that I got the 1st shot, what can I do?” 

People wanted to know if they could play with their grandkids, stop wearing a mask, eat at a restaurant and make vacation plans. All of these questions revolve around reclaiming lives and inching back to some sort of normal.  

First, the encouraging news:  

• Congratulations, you were vaccinated! This is the first in several steps in the journey back to less restrictions. 

• Less worry – You’ve taken a positive, proactive step in protecting yourself and the people around you. You’re reducing the chance of a serious infection and needing to be hospitalized if you were to become infected.

• More optimism – You may start to feel more encouraged and hopeful, which are important for looking forward to a more normal life. 

What you need to do now:

• Keep wearing a mask – The vaccine doesn’t work immediately. It takes 2 separate vaccinations plus an additional 3 – 4 weeks after the 2nd dose to build up immunity. 

• Keep eating outside or picking up take out – Sorry, but when people are inside, with masks off eating, that’s when the virus is likely to spread. A study from the National Football League showed that as little as a few minutes of eating in the same room can spread the virus.  

• Getting together with family – You’re on your way to be able to do this. These vaccines are very protective and that’s reassuring. 90-94% of people developed immunity, but that means that some people did not. 

– Remember the vaccine does not guarantee 100% immunity, people who are vulnerable, like those being treated for cancer, those with lung disease are still at some risk and should check with their healthcare provider about how to do this safely.

• If you want to get together with family who hasn’t been vaccinated, like grandkids and other family members:

– Wait until at least 3 weeks after the 2nd vaccine

– Ask family members to quarantine for at least 10 days, (14 is better) prior to the visit

– Ask family to be tested prior to the visit, 1 test is good, 2 is better and 3 is best

– If possible, get together outdoors and if you’re still a little hesitant, wear a mask

• Vacations are tempting – I wish I had different news for you, but now is not a good time to travel. Unfortunately, with worries about Covid variants from South Africa, Brazil, and the UK, which all appear to be even more contagious, Dr. Fauci is recommending that we don’t travel. 

We just don’t know if the vaccines you’re receiving now will offer enough protection for these variants. Unfortunately, people going to resorts in are coming into contact with people from all over the world and becoming infected.

I talked to Malou Nubla from NBC’s California Live on what to expect with vaccines

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