Vaccinated and Beyond. In America and In India.
All members of my immediate family in America and India, except a couple have been fully vaccinated. One hasn’t been offered vaccination in his age group yet. Another has decided against vaccination because of medical reasons. Yet another is still deciding. The rest of us, including me, have received our second shots. We have had minimal side effects.
There is so much swirling in the news that I thought I would try to simplify and explain it as I see it. The immediate upshot of vaccinations is the following. We will spend extended time indoors, such as for a meal, for the first time with our vaccinated relatives at our homes. Not the same as it was before the pandemic, but a lot more exciting than the last 12 months.
Vaccinations in America from Moderna and Pfizer, and more recently from Johnson & Johnson appear to be going smoothly with minimal bad news. At the same time, because of relaxation of masking and social distancing rules all around and because of a general apathy or exhaustion after a long year, many continue to become infected. A few thousands who have been vaccinated have also become infected as is to be expected, showing vaccination is not foolproof. Vaccinated or not, amount and length of exposure indoor remain key factors, so minimizing them where possible and using masking and distancing where necessary continue to be the advice for this summer and beyond. But we can party with vaccinated close relations in small groups.
In India and many other countries, the available vaccinations are different. Some scientific connections have been made between AstraZeneca vaccine (also Covidshield in India) and blood clots in rare cases. A significant percentage of those rare cases may be related to, as yet unknown, but perhaps checkable patient conditions. The benefits for older adults, in terms of both getting sick and the level of sickness, favor getting vaccinated. The benefits vs risks calculation for adults younger than 30 is under evaluation. No specific problems have been noted for Covaxin, made in India. No clear studies exist yet on combining vaccinations. The recommendations of reduced indoor exposure, masking, and social distancing hold for India.
For us, perhaps among the most cautious, the rules have changed as follows, since vaccination. We will allow ourselves to stay in hotels and perhaps in the homes of careful and vaccinated relations in locations that have lower virus incidence rates. Brief indoor store visits and outdoor dining will become acceptable. Concerts and travel by planes still remain some time away.
Finally, the more of us that get vaccinated the less we endanger the essential, underprivileged workers at restaurants, stores, and elsewhere.