COLUMN: Getting the vaccine is one step closer to normalcy

Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — when given the opportunity to get vaccinated, I wasn’t picky about which vaccine I received because I was just thrilled to have the chance to protect myself as well as those around me. Now that the opportunity to get vaccinated is becoming widely available, there are so many different aspects of life that I am looking forward to as well as relieved about.

Like many others, the first thought that ran through my mind when I found out that I was getting vaccinated was, “Oh my god, are things finally going to go back to being normal again?” I know that I cannot be the only person with this thought, and the idea of having some notion of normalcy in my life and routine again was absolutely thrilling. 

The next thing that ran through my mind was a little more personal: I can finally keep my grandparents a little safer now that I’m vaccinated. Ever since students, including myself, left campus over a year ago, I have been living with my grandparents, simply because it allows me to be able to keep my job in the city and not spend even more of my time in rush hour traffic trying to get to and from work. But with this arrangement came the fear of bringing the virus home after every shift. No matter what precautions I took, there was always the lingering thought of making my grandparents deathly sick with Covid-19. Now that both my grandparents and I are vaccinated, I can breathe a little easier. 

The vaccine has also let me sigh in relief when it comes to my job. I have been working a majority of the pandemic in a retail store interacting with clients trying to find them the perfect outfit for all their Zoom events. The key component of my job is to interact with the public and with a pandemic happening all around us, it was nerve-wracking. It was particularly nerve-wracking when you would get clients who didn’t acknowledge that there was a pandemic happening; whether it be refusing to wear a mask properly or standing just a bit too close, it made me nervous to say the least. 

Writer Bailey Donovan poses with her Covid-19 vaccination card. Illinois has administered over 9 million doses as of May 7, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. (Photo courtesy of Bailey Donovan)

All of this is exactly why when given the opportunity to get vaccinated, I leaped at the chance. At this point, where we’ve been completely disrupted from business as usual because of the pandemic, it seems only logical to get the vaccine and do my part to prevent the spread of the virus. 

At this point, it felt like my duty to get the vaccine to protect myself and others from the virus. At the time that I got vaccinated, we all had been living in the pandemic for over a year. I never could have imagined living in a time when the entire world just stopped and shut down, but now I’ve seen just that and the effects the pandemic has  had on small businesses and individual lives. Getting the vaccine seemed like a small price to pay so that the world could resume normalcy once again and let people get back on their feet.

It also dawned on me that in the future the vaccine would probably be required to get into various events and places, so I figured better to get it sooner rather than later. Little did I know that soon after I got vaccinated, DePaul would announce its vaccine requirement to be on campus next year, so essentially, I felt like I was a step ahead of the game. 

That, alongside being able to protect my family and the chance at normalcy once again, made getting the vaccine a total no-brainer. I took the first appointment I could find, not minding the long drive and knowing that once I was vaccinated, going back to what life once was may not be as far as previously believed. 

I highly encourage others to get vaccinated if they can. I understand people’s hesitancy, and people need to do what they believe is right for them, but I encourage people to think about those beyond themselves. We all have been through a lot in the past year, and I think that we all just want to get back to normal as soon as possible and getting vaccinated seems to be one way to reach that goal. 

I like to imagine that we are on the brink of reaching normal routines and some sort of sanity because of the vaccine. As restrictions are lifted, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but still know and acknowledge that the virus is still around, and precautions still need to be taken. But the ability to protect my family and myself made getting the vaccine 100 percent worth it.