ALESTLE VIEW: Get vaccinated for yourself, and for those who can't

Via UnSplash.

If you’ve been vaccinated – great, but don’t stop wearing a mask. Respect the people around you who haven’t been vaccinated yet, or can’t because of allergies or other medical conditions.


Out of the over 12 million people living in Illinois, there are 3.3 million people who have been fully vaccinated, as of writing this, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website. But until more people get vaccinated, we need to continue wearing our masks to reduce the spread in the meantime. 


As more of the population starts to get vaccinated, the importance of wearing masks stays important. We need to minimize the spread as much as possible so the vaccines can be the most effective. 


Also, you aren’t invincible if you are vaccinated. It’s still possible to get COVID-19 even when fully vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are similar to other vaccines in your body, they fight off a virus if you are exposed. 


Being fully vaccinated is the next step toward getting out of this pandemic, but your body needs time to adjust after vaccination. The CDC says it may take up to two weeks for a fully vaccinated person to build up their immune system to fight COVID-19, so wearing a mask up until that point is crucial. After being fully vaccinated for two weeks, you can start to do certain activities again, but check the CDC’s website for specifics. 


If you’re lucky enough to get the vaccine, be kind to those who cannot. Although the vaccine is safe for a majority of people, those with severe allergic reactions and suppressed immune systems may have a higher chance of having a bad reaction to the vaccine, according to a Healthline article.


Don’t get mad at restaurant workers, hairstylists or grocery store workers for requiring masks. This isn’t a new concept. It has been a consistent mandate for over a year now. You shouldn't be surprised when you see a mask requirement sign on the door before you enter a building. People who work in these environments put themselves at much higher risk than the people coming in because they see hundreds of people every day. Their chances of getting COVID-19 are higher than yours, and you agreeing to wear a mask while inside is the least you can do.


If you aren’t wearing a mask for yourself, consider wearing a mask for those who are waiting to get the vaccine. Appointment times to get the vaccine are becoming available for more age groups, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more places are offering them. You can now get vaccinated at SIUE’s student fitness center. Appointment times are filling up, so reserve your appointment now at Madison County Vaccine Distribution.


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