Only a few days ago we learned that a vaccine from Pfizer could represent a solution to the coronavirus pandemic. Though its route to market has been speedy to say the least, clinical trials—so far—have proved promising.
On Pfizer’s heels are a couple of other vaccines, namely those from AstraZeneca and Moderna, which are also showing more than a 90% success rate.
What difference will this news make to people?
For some, this will be a huge positive. Those who are shielding due to having pre-existing health issues may see a vaccine as the key to re-joining society. Small business owners, if they manage to hang on until the vaccination programme is rolled out, will see it as a chink of light in a dark time, as they may soon be able to serve customers without fear of further lockdown or limiting restrictions.
As for the general public, it’s likely that some will see the vaccine as an end to all the upheaval and social distancing regulations we’ve had to abide by since March of this year. At the outset of the pandemic, few of us could have foreseen how much our lives would alter, and how long the virus could potentially be with us.
There will be some people for whom the news of a vaccine will not be a cause for celebration. Given that vaccines usually take years before they’re deemed safe and are licensed, how quickly it’s taken to create this vaccine may unnerve some people, who will be rightly worried of its long-term effects years down the line. There’s also the portion of society who don’t agree with the idea of a vaccine for this virus, for whatever reason—one being that it’s part of a government plan to control us.
Whatever your beliefs, and whether you’ll participate in the eventual vaccination programme, this news has given hope that there will come a time in the not-too-distant future where our lives may return to some sort of normalcy.
Some aspects of the pandemic may stick with us for a long time—some of us may continue wearing our masks when out in large crowds of people, for example; regular hand-washing and the application of hand sanitiser may also remain part of our daily routines.
What I personally hope returns, because a vaccine has made it safe again, is physically touching others. I’ll qualify this before you begin to think certain things of me…whilst I’ve never considered myself a touchy-feely person, I always hugged my friends goodbye after spending time with them. I don’t hug my parents or siblings (I wasn’t brought up doing so, it would feel weird). My girls, being older now, don’t appreciate a hug very often (though I hugged them plenty when they were younger), and my other half definitely isn’t a ‘hugger’…which means the hugs I shared with my friends were the only ones I got. And I’ve missed them—my friends and the hugging!
I adored seeing my friends before the virus hit, and I really want to be able to hug them hello or goodbye. It’s weird to stand two metres away from them when we have been allowed to mix and just say ‘well, bye then’ when we go our separate ways.
For those people who are touchy-feely, what I’m experiencing must be magnified a thousand times for them—and it must be awful. I’ve seen videos of adult children trying to hug their parents who are residing in care homes via ‘plastic arms’; or them just being deprived of any physical touch altogether as they talk through a screen or window. If you’re used to hugging those you love, and they don’t live in the same household, this virus has taken something away from you. I can only hope the vaccine will give it back.
For some people with elderly parents in care, the arrival of the vaccine may come too late to enjoy one last hug with the people who brought you into this world.
That’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever written.
I have some reservations, from a safety point of view, about the new vaccines. On balance, if it means returning to the life I had, I don’t care if I’m controlled by MI5 or I turn blue, I’ll take it. I’m not one of those people who has loved lockdown for all the things they’ve been able to accomplish and all the time they’ve had spare. I’ve only had three days off throughout this entire year and I get cabin fever after just a few hours in the house; for me, it’s been a difficult year that has been full to the brim of work but no play. Compared to the year some people have had because of this terrible virus, however, I know I have much to be thankful for.
The hope that these vaccines will put an end to what we’ve experienced in 2020 is enough of a benefit for now. That thought will help us get through the cold, dark winter and what could be a compromised, lonely Christmas.
Roll on 2021.
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