A Zen proverb says, “Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.”
The updated version is, “Before vaccination: wash hands, wear a mask, maintain distance. After vaccination: wash hands, wear a mask, maintain distance.”
Sadly, being vaccinated does not lead to a carefree wonderland of giving up these practices. We continue to observe them for the sake of the loved ones we want to spend time with, and yes, even for strangers. But here is the best part. To carry on with these beneficial customs is also in our own self-interest.
Let’s talk about ourselves first! If we are lucky enough to be vaccinated, the first shot does not confer instant immunity. It takes a week or more for antibodies to even gain a foothold. They do not spring into full-blown potency. And of course, if the vaccine is the two-shot kind, recipients need to stick with the program the whole time in between the first and second — at the very absolute minimum. The vaccine can’t do it all. Success requires our active participation.
Incidentally, Johns Hopkins Medicine, in a piece about vaccine myths and facts, asserts that people who have already been sick with the virus might as well go ahead and be vaccinated regardless, because “Some scientists believe the vaccine offers better protection for coronavirus than natural infection.” It goes on,
There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it (natural immunity). Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long…
Vaccinated and exposed
The best evidence on hand indicates that when the virus is transmitted from one person to another, it can take as long as two weeks to become detectable by lab testing. This is especially problematic if the new person does not develop observable symptoms. Quarantine is the best-known method of keeping other people safe, especially when testing is not always available or reliable, which happens.
The previous Centers for Disease Control guidelines said, “All people who come into contact with someone who has Covid-19 should quarantine for 14 days.” (Except, if the person had the virus and recovered, within a certain time frame, they could proceed as if they had not experienced live contact. ) Now, the new guidelines provide another exception. The “fully vaccinated,” if exposed to an infected person, do not need to sequester themselves for two weeks.
Next: What does it mean to be fully vaccinated? And can kids be it?
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “COVID-19 Vaccines: Myth Versus Fact,” HopkinsMedicine.org, undated
Source: “CDC Issues Welcome Guidance on Quarantining for Vaccinated People,” Medium.com, 02/11/21
Image by Brooke Allen/CC BY 2.0