Vaccinations: New Hope for The Hopkins Community
The news we’ve all been waiting for has finally come — vaccines have been approved for those over the age of 12. Everyone on the Hopkins campus is now eligible to receive the vaccine, putting us back on the path to normalcy. But what will this new normal look like?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 mRNA vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 15 in May; in April, people ages 16 and up be- came eligible to receive the vaccine in Connecticut. This announcement from the FDA is monumental, as vaccinating teenagers and children is key to achieving sufficient levels of immunity within the population that we need to finally curb the spread of this long-lasting pandemic.
The news is also very encouraging for the Hopkins community, as now everyone on campus is eligible to receive the vaccine. I can’t express how relieved this makes me feel. I was fortunate enough to receive my first dose of the vaccine this past month, and I definitely feel a burden lifted off my shoulders. When Head of School Kai Bynum announced Hopkins would be returning to school in-person after Spring Break, I was terrified. For so long, going to school has been like walking on eggshells, all of us just waiting for someone to test positive for the virus, waiting to get contact traced, waiting to get the horrible news ourselves. Because of these fears, we changed so many things about our lives. Whether it be mask-wearing or school over Zoom, we all implemented these adjustments in order to protect ourselves from the virus. But in the process, we lost so much. The senior classes of 2020 and 2021 didn’t get the fun-filled last years at Hopkins they de- served, while the rest of us mourn hours spent on Zoom and time lost with friends.
Now, with more and more people getting vaccinated, I can slowly start to feel the world around me return to normal. Restrictions on mask-wearing and social distancing are starting to ease, and more businesses and restaurants are starting to open. It really feels like the end of this pandemic is near. We can finally hang out with friends! We can get back to sports! We can even watch Hopkins Drama Association productions in person! But even so, we continue to see remnants of how our lives have been forever changed by this pandemic. The comfy couches in Heath have been replaced with staggered, isolated tables. The Dining Hall, once loud and lively, is now quiet and lonely. The truth is, this pandemic has changed our definition of normal, and we have yet to see what this post-pandemic new normal is going to look like. Will mask-wearing during the flu season become a norm? Will Zoom school become a replacement for snow days?
Despite the uncertainty, I choose to stay optimistic, and I’m hopeful that, with the help of vaccines, we’ll get back to the normal that once was.