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Vaccination offers promise of normalcy

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After more than a year of taking precautions, masking and then double-masking, avoiding restaurants and the gym, a shift to a reasonable facsimile of normal is on the horizon.
Normal pursuits seem once again possible as more individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

I’ve been perusing this summer’s Major League Baseball schedule and this fall’s college football schedule with unbridled anticipation.  This is something I do every year, but this year is different.  I am champing at the bit, in other words, to attend a live sporting event for the first time in more than a year.

I usually attend several games of both sports each year. But as the COVID-19 pandemic burgeoned early last spring, it became apparent my normal activities would go on hiatus. Last year, MLB held games without fans. It is an understatement to say it wasn’t the same. I gave college football a wide miss last fall, even though it was possible to acquire socially distant seats. I viewed it as an unacceptable risk.

Finally, these pursuits seem like a possibility. After more than a year of taking precautions, masking and then double-masking, avoiding restaurants and the gym, a shift to a reasonable facsimile of normal is on the horizon.

As the Biden Administration ramped up COVID-19 vaccination across the country the past few months, I have impatiently waited for my state to drop the age requirement to a range that included me and my wife. That finally happened in mid-March. Much to my surprise, I was able to quickly book appointments for the first shot, which happened on March 18.

I'm not particularly fond of needles, but I’m by no means scared, especially when the needle can help end this seemingly endless pandemic. I am also a firm believer in vaccinations.

The process was simple and smooth. The county where I live contracted with a technical college to use its conference room as a vaccination center for the next few months. Upon entering the building, my wife and I presented our IDs and a pre-filled registration form. We were then escorted into the conference room, where there were about two dozen vaccination stations. I happened to draw a local fireman and EMT as my vaccinator. He was good. I barely felt the needle.

As I write this column, I am several days past the first shot with absolutely no side effects. My wife experienced a few minor effects, including arm pain, but those quickly subsided.

The second shot, often described as a booster, will come in early April. Two weeks later, on a date I have marked on my calendar, my vaccination will be at full strength.

I read a quote by a scientist in mid-March that the vaccines had already saved at least 40,000 lives. There is no reason to doubt that. Hopefully, the vaccination momentum will continue to build, and the second half of 2021 will seem more like 2019. Of course, masking will continue for the foreseeable; I don’t think I will ever fly again unmasked.

Yes, there is reason for optimism. Normal activities will take on greater signficance. Science is indeed amazing.

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