COVID Vaccines - What Will the New Normal Be?

 

 

Myrna Hill

The Ashland Beacon

 

   Every person’s life has been touched by COVID-19 in some way. Whether it be transitioning to remote learning and work, losing a job, or even the loss of a loved one, we have all felt the widespread effects of the pandemic. In the last few months, cases have risen uncontrollably, with hospitals reaching full capacity. Nearly a year into the pandemic, it can be hard to feel like any sense of normalcy will be restored in the near future. 

   However, with the approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, it seems like there is some hope that COVID-19 will be behind us someday in the not-so-far future. Kings Daughters Medical Center staff have begun administering and receiving the vaccine as they do their part to keep themselves and our community safe. 

   Geoffrey Bennett is a KDMC emergency room employee and an alumnus of Paul G. Blazer High School. He has received the Pfizer vaccine within the last few weeks. 

   “Working in the Emergency Department, I am constantly exposed to the virus. I got the vaccine to protect my family, friends, and my patients,” Bennett said. 

   Bennett also mentioned the toll the pandemic has had on his own and his coworker’s mental and physical health. “It has been physically and emotionally draining. It is frustrating and defeating to see so many people catch the virus.”

   Amidst the stress of being a hospital employee during a pandemic, Bennett also said he believes the vaccines rolling out to the public will restore some sense of normalcy. 

   “I think the current restrictions surrounding masks and social distancing will be around longer than some may think,” Bennett added. “However, I am most excited to be able to attend a concert once the country is virus free.”

   Medical personnel are the first in line to receive the vaccine, with the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are next in line. Protecting vulnerable populations first will ensure their health and safety as cases continue to rise.

   Nikki, another ER employee at King’s Daughters, also received the Pfizer vaccine. Nikki agreed with Bennett in saying working in a hospital during the pandemic has taken a toll on her. 

   “I decided to get the vaccine for multiple reasons; the major two factors were to protect my family and loved ones in hopes to never have to tell a family member the could not see or spend the last moments with a dying family member,” she said. 

   However, she expressed her gratitude for her fellow coworkers and their incredible work ethic despite the challenges brought on by COVID.

   “Is it frustrating? Absolutely. Would I change any of it? Not in a million years,” she said. “In a decade when I look back on this, I will be thankful I had such a wonderful team to work through a global pandemic with.”

   Nikki also said that she is most looking forward to hugging her grandparents without fear she will infect them. 

   It is safe to say COVID has impacted everyone in some way. However, looking forward to seeing loved ones, attending concerts and festivals, and enjoying things so many took for granted seems to act as a light at the end of the tunnel. The distribution of a vaccine has given hope to those who thought the pandemic will never end and have been isolated from family and friends. 

   Despite the beginning of vaccinating the general population, the CDC still encourages social distancing, wearing a mask, and limiting contact with others as much as possible. King’s Daughters expects to begin vaccinating elderly populations by the end of the month, but with no firm date in place.


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