Life after the Vaccine… What’s Next?

As of late February 2021, more than 205 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed. As given vaccine rates continue to increase, this begs the unknown question that has been constantly hanging over everyone’s head: what happens next?


Our daily routines consist of mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing and social distancing. Will this unique safety precaution continue for the rest of our lives? Will we never see someone’s nose or mouth ever again?


While I think there will be a large chunk of time before congested events such as Lollapalooza occur (400,000 strangers packed shoulder to shoulder for twelve straight hours?), I have no doubt that yes, eventually we will once again be able to make conversation without shouting through our masks, and greet loved ones with a hug instead of an elbow bump. 


However, although I do have confidence in a “normal life” post-Covid, I believe as a society we will be significantly more aware of our surroundings in terms of health safety and cleanliness in general. Wearing masks on various forms of crowded public transportation in order to prevent the spread of germs doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, and carrying hand sanitizer everywhere in public sounds pretty smart to me. 


Unfortunately for students, having a “remote learning day” at home in place of a snow day off school also seems to be a very feasible option in the future.


After Tier 1a, 1b, and 1c people (healthcare workers, essential workers, high risk people/elders) have received their vaccinations, I believe that college students should be next — hopefully during summer 2021. Those students who have already missed an entire year of a “true college experience” and a crucial period of adjusting to adulthood, deserve to earn the best college experience so their lives can go back to normal, and enabling these students to get their vaccinations before beginning school would be extremely ideal. 


However, after getting the vaccine, everyone still needs to be careful and maintain social distancing protocols until the CDC states it is safe to branch out from these guidelines. While this process will definitely be a slow burn, it will be effective as the rest of the world continues to get their vaccinations. We can continue to look forward to life in the future, but throwing an absolute rager after receiving your second dose of the vaccine is definitely not a smart celebration.


As a senior in high school who has practically missed the entirety of senior year, I am wholeheartedly hoping for a promising future as vaccines continue to rollout to the world. Although the COVID-19 pandemic created an overwhelming amount of loss and missed opportunity, this distinct period of our lives certainly is something we will never forget. 


While the question of “What’s next?” continues to remain unanswered, most likely never to have a guaranteed response, as a society it is vital to not give up on science and safety until we have reached a point where the unknown time of “What’s next?” turns into our true reality.