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Betty and I received our first doses of the Moderna vaccine, attending a special session at the Knox City Community Center last Thursday. Following the advice of physician Chris Scott, we waited a little longer to get them because we had COVID-19 back in October and wanted others in our age group to receive their shots ahead of us.
Hats off to the Knox County Hospital for a very effective operation. We just walked in, filled out some paperwork and moved over to a waiting nurse to get the shot. Then we sat down for 15 minutes and were cleared by the EMS staff before leaving by a side door.
Betty said she had a sore arm, notes she had a slight fever and chills the next day, but I had no ill effects myself. However, our daughter Lorri in Richardson, who received the Pfizer vaccination, did not do as well, staying home from work last Friday two days after her shot. Her husband Danny just had a sore arm.
Delivering newspapers to Jim Dillon at the Knox County Aging Center, I discovered that others received their second doses in a similar session earlier that morning.
We got good news here in Knox County in late February as there was only one active case reported. So the vaccinations and following of safety procedures seemed to be effective in slowing the spread.
As more and more are getting vaccinated, the next question on everyone’s mind is when can I take off my mask and get back to a more normal life?
The Centers for Disease Control had good news on Monday with adjusted guidelines that recommend Americans who are fully vaccinated can gather with each other inside in small groups without needing to wear masks or maintain social distancing.
You will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting your final dose.
However, the CDC still recommends that others continue to wear masks and avoid large gatherings.
Gov. Greg Abbott surprised a few when he announced that effective two days ago the mandatory face mask requirement was being lifted and businesses could return to opening for larger capacities. He left enough wiggle room for businesses to require masks if they wanted. Other states are doing the same thing.
Not a surprise in today’s political world, President Joe Biden said that was a “big mistake.” He had urged states not to let up on restrictions as vaccinations pick up. “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we are able to get vaccines in people’s arms,” he said. “The last thing — the last thing — we need is Neanderthal thinking in the meantime.”
Since we remain in uncharted waters, personally, I am going to continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC and wear a mask out in public, feeling that I had rather take a wait-and-see attitude about if the re-openings lead to another spike in the number of cases.
MCISD Supt. Troy Parton shared with me a Texas Education Association notice that effective immediately, all Texas vaccine providers will include “those who work in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs (including teachers, staff and bus drivers) and those who work as or for licensed childcare providers, including center-based and family care providers.”
This should have been done earlier and might have allowed fewer schools to see students and staff come down with the virus or be quarantined at home.
The new notice about adding them to the priority list came after the Biden administration urged all states to prioritize vaccinating teachers and school staff. Texas had not previously prioritized them.
The TEA also announced that it still recommends the wearing of face masks in schools, but will leave it up to individual districts. Emails to the superintendents here in Knox revealed that these decisions will be made later in the month.
The UIL will stick with its standard guidelines, appropriate face coverings will still be required by fans and athletes not actively participating in practice or games, among other stipulations. The mask requirements are also in place when six feet of social distance isn’t possible. The mask-related requirements, however, “may be modified or eliminated by the formal action of the governing board of a school system.”