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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

Got My Vaccine: Now What?

My husband and I stood in a socially distanced line in front of the Levy Senior Center. It was a typical winter day in the Chicago area--dark, cold, windy. I pulled up my coat collar, stamped my feet one by one, and tried to focus on how lucky we were to get our first shot before millions of other folks. One of the perks of being "elderly."

When our group was ushered inside, we joined another line and waited some more. I studied the assembled men and women, some with walkers, many hunched over, almost all with gray hair. For a minute, I felt like a cheater because I color mine. But I got over that in a flash.

Granted, some of the seniors were older. But I saw my mortality staring me in the face.

I always said that I wanted to live to see 100. Now, I'm not so sure. The compression fracture in my back persists despite my exercise and visits to the physical therapist. (Alas, she just retired.) My balance ain't what it used to be and, despite Jane Brody's New York Times column about walking with both feet firmly planted and bent knees something like the crouch for skiers, I now hold on to any railing I can find.

And, of course, there's the whole memory thing. I recently downloaded an app called "Peak" to ostensibly help with memory and focus. Some of the visual exercises are so far from my bailiwick that I've taken to skipping them. I figure that seeing how shapes mutate is not something I need in my life. I have enough angst with the virus!

Will our lives change dramatically once we're vaccinated? The experts give a resounding "No!" It will most likely be safer to visit the grocery store or the post office. Whoopee! But we should still wear masks and avoid large groups and indoor gatherings.

In an informal survey of 700 epidemiologists by The New York Times, less than a third said they would change their behavior after they were vaccinated; half said they would wait until at least 70 percent of the population was vaccinated. Waiting for Godo is how I see it.

So, is there an upside to being vaccinated? Well, if the people you want to see have all been vaccinated, it should be safer to hang indoors. But if one member of a couple has been vaccinated but the other has not, well, no deal.

One of the regular experts on CNN or MSNBC said that even if the vaccine is not 100% and you fall into the 5%+ group that contracts Covid, your chances of being hospitalized or, yes, dying are almost nil. I guess there's something to be said for that. Maybe I will see 100.


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