Staff Picks: Life after Vaccination

While the pandemic is certainly not over, and deadly outbreaks and the unequal global distribution of vaccines are affect parts of the globe, we seem to be rounding a corner in the US. As we see American vaccination rates increase, the prospect of reuniting with loved ones and those important to our lives is inching closer to reality.

AHA staff share the important things that being vaccinated will finally allow them to do.

I’m most looking forward to spending time with the new babies and young kids I haven’t been able to visit during the pandemic. Seeing and hearing each other through a device isn’t the same as connecting and playing in the same space. I also hope to give their parents a well-deserved break or any other support they need.

—Emily Newman

Last May and June, many parents didn’t have the option to attend their children’s graduations or any life-transiting events for family and friends. I feel fortunate to have received the vaccine a few months ago. This privilege will allow me to attend my daughter’s graduation from Colorado College and my son’s graduation from Hopkins High School. These events happen only once in a lifetime, and being able to see, in person, both my children reach this milestone in ceremony and celebration is more than I could have hoped for in the last year.

—Kristin Wintermute

As I wait for my second Moderna vaccine to take full effect, I’m looking forward to a plethora of activities from mundane matters like getting my hair cut and going to the dentist, to finally visiting my parents, seeing a pianist at the Kennedy Center, and getting to see my nephew when he’s born later in the summer. Whether it’s connecting with family, seeing live performances, or just taking the time to eat a meal outside the home it’ll be a great relief to mostly re-enter the world once fully vaccinated.

—Roy Speckhardt

Beyond reuniting with friends and family, my ultimate (and admittedly selfish & unimaginative) dream right now is to be sitting inside at a bar, without a mask, sipping on an overpriced “artisanal” draft beer, and doing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. I’m grateful that the California county I live in has moved into a tier that should help that dream soon become a reality.

—Peter Bjork

The pandemic has forced a very long absence and I’m looking forward to seeing my relatives—including the family Labrador—in Southeast Texas. I’d love to tack on a trip to Avery Island, Louisiana while I’m there—it’s where Tabasco sauce is made and the McIlhenny Company maintains a beautiful wildlife sanctuary on the island (which is actually a huge salt dome).

—Joaquín Cabrejas

After a year of isolated staycations, my husband and I are excited to take a road trip and visit family this summer. However, the first thing we did once we were fully vaccinated was to check out a neighborhood restaurant that opened during the pandemic. The simple pleasure of a beer on an awesome patio at a buzzy new joint is one of the joys of city living, and we’re so happy to have it back!

—Sharon McGill

As a podcaster I listen to says all the time, humans are meant to be with members of their tribe. We are tribal animals after all. I know a lot of folks out there might share the same hope: I just look forward to seeing some of my closest friends in-person and talking in close contact without worrying about the recklessness of actions that would otherwise risk the transmission of the virus.

—Isabelle Oldfield

The most important thing to me, once I was fully vaccinated (I got the J&J vaccine, so I was one-and-done in March), was being able to see my father again. We were finally able to enjoy an in-person reunion a couple of weeks ago after almost a year and a half apart – the longest separation we’ve ever experienced in my entire life. My father is in his 80s and lives far away, so being vaccinated was crucial for both of us before one of us could risk travelling. Being able to hug him again after so long was a great joy! And it made me very aware of the incredible losses so many families have suffered during the pandemic.

—Nicole Carr