I had my second dose of the Moderna m-RNA vaccine yesterday. What comes next?
It takes three weeks to build immunity, and I don’t plan to change what I’ve been doing until then. I have been isolating rather thoroughly. I haven’t been inside a store since last October. I’m taking piano lessons via Zoom. I wear double masks held tight with a clip that pulls the ear loops to the back of my neck. I haven’t seen friends in person since sometime late last summer. My family is at distances that make a year’s separation not extraordinary.
The CDC has promised guidelines on what to do after you’ve had your vaccine, but they haven’t published them yet. Guidelines are difficult to develop because there are so many variables.
I look at it as a risk assessment problem. What risk are you willing to take? What risk do various situations present? Here’s my assessment for myself. Yours may differ.
The numbers change with new information. We’ve known this virus and its effects only a year now. So my risk assessment is qualitative rather than quantitative.
I see becoming ill with Covid-19 as an unacceptable risk. My age group is more likely than others to be hospitalized or die from Covid-19. Additionally, it can cause lasting effects as “Long Covid.” These risks are a lot more than for the flu. Unacceptable in my judgment.
My risk management strategy is aimed at never contracting the disease. The first Moderna shot is supposed to give 85% immunity, and the second, well over 95%. Nobody who has had the vaccinations has died from Covid and few have been hospitalized. Those are good numbers, but the second is three weeks away for me.
Besides what the vaccine does to protect me, I also consider the numbers of cases and whether they are increasing or decreasing. They have decreased rapidly for the past month or so, but they are now at the levels of last summer, which we thought then was pretty bad. The more cases around, the more likely I am to be exposed. Will a larger dose of virus still make me sick? We don’t know. Could I catch an asymptomatic case and spread virus? Possibly.
The first thing I will do in three weeks will be spend time with friends who have been vaccinated. We will probably stay outside, on my deck, with masks.
Sometime after that, if cases continue to decrease, I will start going to stores. I quit when cases were going up and people were not distancing properly. I’ll start with the Farmers’ Market, which is in a large building or outdoors. In three weeks, it should be at least partially outdoors. Then I’ll try Trader Joe’s, which was particularly crowded and people particularly rude, even during alleged senior hours. I do like their products, though. Costco was good before, and I’ll head back there.
I’m working down my stockpiles of cleaning products and frozen and nonperishable food that I acquired through spring and summer last year. That feels good.
Next week I have a dental hygiene appointment. My last one was in October. The dentist made their hallways one-way, added barriers, and increased ventilation. I felt pretty good about their safety then and better now.
After three weeks, I’ll contact my massage therapist to find out if she is working. She’s always been scrupulous about cleanliness, and I really really need a massage. That will be a great pleasure.
I’ve been cutting my own hair. It doesn’t look bad – curly hair is very forgiving. But I know there are things wrong with the haircut and am looking forward to having it corrected. I’ll let it grow out now so that my hair stylist has something to work with.
My piano teacher doesn’t have a date for her vaccination yet. I am looking forward to having in-person lessons but don’t know when that will be.
I will, of course, mask up when I go out in public. It looks like vaccination cuts down on virus transmission, but not entirely. Masks will be required at least through the summer. People in Santa Fe have been good about masking, although I saw one man yesterday with his nose sticking out. Since they didn’t tattoo my vaccination date on my forehead, nobody can tell that I’m vaccinated.
Restaurants? Movies? Not until at least 50% of the population is vaccinated and case numbers are well below last summer’s. That might come as soon as this summer.
Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner