“I finally get to live again.”
Those were the words of Robin Beideman, a woman who just recently received her second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The wait was finally over.
Her and around 1400 others received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last Sunday at a clinic at Skippack Elementary School. The day was full of masked grins and squinted eyes that looked like something had been restored inside of them. Tears of joy, sighs of relief and utter happiness was seen at every corner and felt throughout the air. For the first time in over a year, a level of safety was felt.
The amount of people who have received the vaccine in Pennsylvania has been going up drastically as of late, with 336, 007 people becoming fully vaccinated in the last week alone. In total, there have been 2,622,384 people having been administered a vaccine. That’s roughly 23% of Pennsylvania. (Gov. PA Website)
After a slow start to the vaccination process, which left many feeling bitter and upset at the distribution, things are finally starting to pick up. Hope is starting to spark in many individuals around Montgomery County, which alone has 115,037 individuals partially vaccinated, and people are finally starting to feel joy again.
“It is absolutely one of the best feelings in the world. After getting married and having my child, this is the third best day of my life. I still pray for things to continue to get better, but you see there is such a difference just a few months ago. But this is truly life changing,” Karen Monzo said, after receiving her second dose of the vaccine.
While smiles can’t be seen, the look in Monzo’s eyes said it all. They sparkled with joy and looked as if they were once again full of life. As she left her vaccination site, her demeanor and mannerisms exuded a happiness that could not be contained.
Many others have felt the same way as Monzo. The pandemic separated families and stopped lives- this is common knowledge. But all of the mental effects of what feels like a prolonged time of being lonely have really compounded on many, especially those at the highest of risk.
“I haven’t seen any members of my family- not my grandchildren, my children, my siblings- ever since Christmas of 2019. It’s been an awfully long time. I miss them dearly… the past year certainly has been a struggle for me,” said Claire Crans, as she looked back on the past year of what felt like solitary confinement to her.
This sentiment was felt throughout the everyone in the building. From the healthcare workers to the ones waiting 15 minutes after their vaccine, a feeling of emotional fatigue combined with stress was being compounded into what can only be called as depressing.
“I have more freedom, see our grandchildren and not have them be worried about us and keep their minds at ease,” Crans said.
Freedom to live once again can go a very long way. Crans and many like her have had to remove themselves from everyone’s lives. But sometimes a small step like this can lead to big changes.
One man named Steve Storer lives roughly 3,500 miles away from his mother. All the way in London, she lives half a world away. Storer had not returned to the UK in quite some time. Battling COVID certainly did not help his case, but one large issue arose.
“My mom was diagnosed with her second recurrence of breast cancer, and she’s 89 years old,” Storer said.
He has not found many ways to get her to caretakers, nor many ways to help out besides sending money to help pay for treatment. The difficulty of the pandemic has fostered things that one does not like to think about, losing the ones that are loved the most.
“Getting back to England is now my biggest priority. She needs my help; I am very lucky and blessed to be able to have the chance to take care of her back home,” Storer added.
He is hopeful that once they reunite, progress can be made for her. He cited that she had been struggling mentally as well, and knows that not seeing her has taken a toll on the both of them.
Receiving both doses of the vaccine saves more than just that life. Everyone around them is affected. It could be protecting others, or it could be saving others. The impact of the vaccine is so much larger than anticipated.
As the roll out accelerates, the teary-eyed, joyful faces will continue to occur, and jubilance will continue to be found again. The future once again contains hope for us all.