Thank You, COVID-19 Vaccine

Chloe Wong, Campus Focus Editor

About a year ago at this time, the world was growing weary of unprecedented circumstances—though even with that phrase having long-reached cliche status, my mind was numb to the point that I wrote it at least twenty times each week. After all, by last December, we were well into the pandemic. Online school, isolation, and the general grey state of the world were starting to weigh heavily on everyone. After months of stagnation, tragedy, and sometimes despair, it felt like COVID-19 and quarantine would never end. And then a single jab arriveda hint of a hesitant promise. 

I’m grateful for a lot of things this year: the health of my family, the well-being of my friends and the return to in-person learning. I racked my brain trying to settle on an idea for this article, because after the past year, even the act of leaving one’s house is something to be grateful for. But it’s the COVID-19 vaccine that has brought about the world’s (slowly-emerging) state of normalcy; it’s the COVID-19 vaccine that has permitted me to attend my various classes and extracurriculars. 

It’s odd to think about sometimes, maybe because the idea of a vaccine is so simple. Take a prick in one arm and slap on a band-aid. Couple that with a second dose two weeks later (and a couple billion more for everyone else). Together, COVID-19 case numbers drop, death rates plummet, and schools begin to reopen. The world starts to get back on its feet again.

Of course, it isn’t so simple. I haven’t even touched on any of the science involvedand this isn’t to minimize or gloss over just how incredible the vaccine is. Though it’s been referred to as “miraculous”, it didn’t come out of thin air. The diligent work of scientists and researchers around the world led to the production of a vaccine that has prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths. The effort it took to get to where we are nowwith 3.16 billion people fully vaccinated worldwide, and over 7.36 billion doses administeredshouldn’t be ignored. Nor should anyone brush aside the fact that the pandemic is still ongoing, that wearing a mask isn’t something to dismiss, and that social distancing and safety measures remain, of course, ever-necessary. 

But even with the pandemic’s still-existing burdens, it’s impossible to deny the positive impact of the vaccine on society. Even though COVID-19 isn’t over, the vaccine has forced the virus to put part of one foot out the door. Statistics aside, it’s given the world something immeasurable. At risk of sounding incredibly saccharine, the vaccine has provided an unmistakable sense of hope. It has stocked worldwide faith in research, in persistence, in resilience. It’s true that I can’t quantify what it feels like to hang out in a boba shop with my friends again. There’s only data to confirm that we’re physically safer now.

And yet when I got my vaccine at CVS with dozens of other kids in the line behind me, I remembered all the times I’d heard people professing that normal would come soon. I wasn’t an overly cynical person during the pandemic, but I think my vaccination was the first moment I actually started to believe that sweet sentiment. So to the COVID-19 vaccine, and all those who developed itthere’s no overestimating how grateful I am for you.