COVID-19 Reflections: When Will It Be My Turn for the Vaccination?

Somewhere around the age of two years old, we start to learn the necessity of patience and waiting your turn. It was a hard lesson then, and the longing for a COVID-19 vaccination has reminded me again of how hard it is to be patient.

ThDoctor Preparing Injection e hottest topic of conversation until recently was, “have you or your family had COVID, and what were your symptoms?” These days it is, “have you gotten a shot yet, how did you find it, and did you have a reaction to the shot?” I know that the more people who are vaccinated, the sooner we can tame this pandemic beast. Too many amazing lives have been cut short due to this horrific disease.

During this time of COVID, my mother-in-law had surgery without anyone she knew at the hospital or nearby to support her. That would have been unimaginable just over a year ago. When will it end? When can I see friends and family again? I and many others have our hopes pinned on vaccinations providing us the protection we need to reclaim some of our normal practices.

Vaccination Roulette

It can be daunting to understand who is eligible for a vaccine and where vaccination shots are available on any given day. It is even more confusing if you are trying to assist persons residing in other places as the rules differ greatly by state. At one point, eligibility was 65 years or older in Georgia, 70 in New Jersey, and 55 in South Carolina – all states where I have relatives trying to get vaccinated. Are essential workers included, and who are they? When did smokers move up in priority? If I smoked 35 years ago, does that count? What pre-existing conditions qualify as making a person more at-risk and thus eligible for a shot sooner?

Note as of March 25, 2021, Georgia expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include all adults ages 16 and older.

Information and Resources

A reliable source on who is eligible for vaccinations in Georgia is the Georgia Department of Health webpage which has up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccine. This site includes a vaccine locator with public health departments and major pharmacies in the area that are distributing vaccinations.

Empowerline has information about COVID-19. There you will find facts and information about the vaccine, Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on how to protect yourself from becoming infected, links to vaccine and testing information for counties in the Metro-Atlanta area, and information about the CARES Flex Program.

The Atlanta Regional Commission’s 33 Degrees North blog has data and information specific to the metro Atlanta area related to COVID-19.

Forever Changed – Unexpected Consequences

There is no denying that life will be forever changed even after the pandemic has passed. Adjustments are being made whether welcome or not. This list is some of my observations and I know that many of you can add your own changes.

  • Telemedicine is now often the preferred option.
  • Telecommuting – remote workplaces are commonplace for many non-essential, non-service industries.
  • Online – meetings, social gatherings, celebrations, and religious services can happen virtually.
  • Travel – whether around the city or across the country – we are rethinking how and when we travel. Does this task require being face-to-face, or can it be accomplished in another way?
  • Increasing computer savvy for those lucky enough to have access – online exercise classes and ordering all kinds of goods from home.
  • Social Distancing is here to stay – touchless greetings, services, and other activities.
  • Masks – experts advise that we will need to continue wearing masks for some time even after vaccinated.

As I look at my window, I see daffodils popping, squirrels chasing each other, and birds of all kinds singing and feasting at our bird feeder. This idyllic view distracts my racing mind from the harsh realities the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought.

There are some compensations of being home more, including getting to know my neighbors through regular walks with my husband. We have a goal of 10,000 steps a day and, weather permitting, have been mostly obtaining it. I am looking forward to it being “the turn” for all who want the vaccination and wish everyone a safe and healthy spring.

Mary Blumberg

Mary leads the Strategic Planning and Development Team within the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Aging and Independence Service Group. She is especially energized by helping cities and neighborhoods learn how to become age friendly and changing hearts and minds about many of our stereotypes about aging and older persons. Mary lives in Atlanta with her husband Marc and enjoys yoga, traveling, and SEC football.