How Vaccinations Will Change 2021

By Emily Harrison Lion’s Roar Staff In comparison to last summer, the U.S. is hoping to return to a somewhat sense of normalcy with the help of vaccines. As of March, Rhode Island’s vaccination regulations are as follows: all healthcare workers and first responders have been made first priorities to receive vaccinations, but next in line and being vaccinated right now are people from the ages of 65 and older. Rhode Island’s vaccine rollout was not as efficient as it had hoped for in the beginning, but there has been a significant increase in total doses and doses administered. The older age groups getting vaccinated now are expected to be fully vaccinated by around the end of March which would then open the door for the next round of people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. According to the COVID RI website, Rhode Islanders from ages 60-64 and anyone from ages 16-64 with underlying health conditions are up next in mid-March to the end of March. For the month of April, ages 50-59 are expected to get vaccinated, in May ages 40-49 are expected to get vaccinated, and June is when the rest of the Rhode Island population above the age of 16 are expected to be vaccinated. If most people above the age of 16 are vaccinated by the early months of summer, that may be something to look forward to. Many other states in the U.S. along with Rhode Island have been becoming more efficient with distributing vaccines which makes us closer to reaching herd immunity. Herd immunity is reached when most of a population becomes immune to a specific disease which then helps to prevent the spread of disease since so many people are immune. In the case of Covid-19, there is still a risk of unvaccinated people having the effects of the virus. The vaccination’s purpose is not to stop the spread of COVID, but to protect someone from the high risks that it presents. Even if you are fully vaccinated, it is possible to carry and pass the virus to someone who is not fully vaccinated. For the summer of 2021, the goal is herd immunity. According to the Center for Disease and Control, as of March, about ten percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated. As this number continues to grow, the CDC will be better able to issue new guidelines that follow the standards of America’s vaccination process. No matter if you are fully vaccinated or not, everyone should still continue to adhere to the COVID regulations in public settings, but it is with other fully vaccinated people where those regulations can change. According to the Center for Disease and Control, fully vaccinated people are now allowed to do the following: “visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart, visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease, and refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19.” These new regulations are good news for anyone who will be fully vaccinated by the summer or frankly, any time. For the first time in about a year, people will soon be able to gather with people not from the same household without masks and indoors. But, this does not mean that we can completely disregard the current protocols of Covid-19 since there will still be many people at risk. The summer of 2021 should be one to remember as most people over the age of sixteen are expected to be vaccinated by the time June comes around. We will soon be able to get back to the summer activities everyone loves like barbecues and concerts which will lead us even closer to normalcy.