How to Deal with the Newest Pandemic Problem: Vaccine Envy
According to The New York Times, about 104.2 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 59.9 million people are fully vaccinated.
Many factors contribute to current vaccine eligibility, and it differs from state to state depending on vaccine availability. By the beginning of May, everyone over the age of 16 will be eligible for vaccination—but that seems like forever away. It's even more frustrating for people under the age of 16, as there is currently no approved vaccine for that age group. Scientific American reports that Pfizer and Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are presently testing the vaccine on younger children, or will begin testing soon.
It's not easy to watch people receive the vaccination before you do. It's difficult to stay patient because we want to take steps towards living normally, and we have already waited an entire year. If you're struggling with vaccine jealousy, here are some tips to help you process it.
Remember That Eligibility Is Based on Essential Needs
Of course, it's challenging to see people get the vaccine before you, but it's important to remember why they are eligible. This pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but it has disproportionally affected certain groups of people more than the rest of us. Doctors and nurses have been working near COVID patients for over a year and putting their health at risk to save lives. People with suppressed immune systems must take extensive and time-consuming precautions to prevent getting ill. People over the age of 50 and essential workers are also more at risk. Those who are receiving the vaccine first are receiving it for a good reason. It can help to remind yourself that if someone is getting the shot before you, it's because they really need it.
Be Happy That You Won't Have to Worry About Your Loved Ones
Let's say your parents received their vaccinations because they're over the age of 50 or your best friend was vaccinated because she lives in a less populated county. How can you shift your envy into happiness? One way is to think about the importance of your loved ones are and how grateful you are now that they are protected. When someone receives a vaccination, it's a reason to celebrate. They will be just as happy and relieved when you receive the vaccination.
Use This Time to Prepare for Post-Vaccine Life
Jealousy can be unproductive when you spend too much time focusing on other people, but it can motivate when you use it correctly. You can use this time to prepare yourself for the vaccine as well as life after the vaccine. First, you can research the vaccines and mentally prepare for what it will be like to receive one. You might have questions about side effects or the effectiveness, so this is a great time to educate yourself. Secondly, you can list all the fun things you will be able to do once you are fully vaccinated. Think about all the times pre-pandemic when you turned down exciting opportunities because you were not in the mood or were afraid you would fail. We have all had way too much to reflect on what we should have done, and now we get to focus on what we will do once we have the chance. Get ready and start planning now!
Their Life Isn't Magically Getting Better— They Still Live in the Pandemic With You
While vaccinated people are safer than those unvaccinated, they still have to follow many safety precautions. The CDC recommends that they still wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines with unvaccinated people. Restaurants and businesses still require facial coverings and a lot of people are continuing to work or study remotely. A vaccine isn't a golden ticket to do whatever they want. NYT estimates that about 70 to 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated before we reach "herd immunity," which will allow us to return to a more normal life. Just like you have to be patient for a vaccine, they have to be patient for other people's vaccinations before we can return to everyday life. It may seem like we're all isolated right now, but we are experiencing this together and will need everyone's patience and cooperation. Don't worry about when you'll get your vaccine! It will come eventually and that's one crucial step closer to brunch with the besties and walking around without masks (can you even remember what that's like?).
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