What’s Safe for Newly Vaccinated Boomers
The generation that invented rock and roll are ready to boogie down again thanks to being among the first to be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Although some of those 65-plus who could be vaccinated are choosing not to do so for various reasons, many are ready to fight for their chance to get immunized for the peace of mind and freedom the vaccine represents.
As a result, boomers can be seen gleefully sharing information on the best sites to book their shots and excitedly posting Facebook pics of getting jabbed. Sick of being stuck at home, watching endless Netflix movies, stress eating, and searching for new hobbies, boomers are ready for a late-in-life comeback.
Boomers scoring a vaccination appointment say it feels like winning the lottery as visions of hugging grandchildren, booking trips to far-away places, and making appointments at the hair salon are dancing in their heads.
Many feel like blogger Terry Cryer who wrote on her blog: “I opened up my laptop and stared at the screen in disbelief. There, in bold type, was a message from our local health department confirming that I had been approved to receive my first COVID vaccination the very next day. I knew that none of the other ‘1-B’s’ in my Illinois social circle had yet succeeded in securing one of these ‘golden tickets’—which is the most current media slang for a vaccine ‘win.’ I leaned forward, unable to recall ever scoring anything bigger than a dime-store cake pan at a county fair, and read the message twice more.”
Boomer Ruth Pennebaker wrote in an article for Texas Monthly: “Since Texans 65 and older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, my friends and I have been feverishly swapping emails and texts with links to vaccine registration sites, urging one another on, and reporting which sites work and which don’t. Online, it’s mass delirium and competition. My friend John says he hasn’t been so angst-ridden since he was trying to score tickets to Hamilton. But we aren’t just losing our minds over getting the vaccine; we’re also making big plans for our future.”
However, after that first rush of excitement and receiving their second vaccine, some are unsure of the next step. Is it actually safe to “get the party started” and “boogie down?”
The Good News
So, here’s the good news: A couple of weeks after the second shot, boomers who were at the front of the line for vaccines are about 95 percent immune to COVID.
Since the older crowd is more susceptible to becoming seriously ill and dying from the coronavirus – this is indeed fabulous news.
While remaining cautious by social distancing and masking in public, my blogging buddy and author Cat Michaels admits getting the vaccine was a comfort. “Getting the vaccine was THE most fantastic, ginormous relief,” she said. “Literally, my neck and shoulder muscles finally relaxed, plus I’m sleeping better. Its like my fairy godmother vanquished the evil dragon, who had been threatening my every move. I even went into a grocery store (gasp!) for the second time in 12 months and now run quick errands without fear or anxiety.”
The Bad News
Now, here’s the bad news: While boomers are among the first in the country to be fully vaccinated and eager to rejoin the world, experts warn that safety precautions must still be taken.
After all, these vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, much of the country has not been vaccinated yet, and more contagious and deadly variants are popping up with some uncertainty about the effectiveness of the vaccines against these new strains.
So, while some boomers have a devil-may-care attitude, others feel more cautious. They are still reluctant to eat at restaurants or visit bars where people are not likely to social distance or wear masks.
And while some are making travel plans, most boomer are not booking trips for 2021. “We have seen an uptick in inquiries about 2022 and 2023,” said Gary Pollard, CTC, president of Ambassador Tours in an interview for TravelPulse.com . “Most of the confirmed bookings are from the clients who were to go in 2020, then 2021 and now are looking further out.” Some in the travel industry have noted that some of their older clients have opted for domestic vacations in 2021.
In other words, there’s still some confusion about what is and isn’t safe after becoming fully vaccinated. Which is why many boomers are taking a step back and asking: “What now?”
What the Experts Say
New guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say people fully vaccinated (two weeks past their second dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or two weeks past a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) can safely visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors in small groups without wearing masks or physical distancing. And thankfully, there’s growing evidence that people who are vaccinated don’t spread the virus, but scientists are still trying to understand how long vaccine protection lasts.
Public-health officials have stressed that even if a person has received both doses of the vaccine, basic health guidance still applies. Vaccinated people should wear face masks in public, physically distance, wash hands often, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
Maybe boomer Helen Anders said it best in the article for Texas Monthly, “We’ll keep on wearing masks. But under them, rest assured, we’ll all be grinning.”
What Do You Think?
If you’ve been vaccinated, how has it changed your life? Are you comfortable going into restaurants and bars? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.