It’s been a year and change since the COVID pandemic distorted the way we live and, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, if the end is not in sight, perhaps the beginning of the end is approaching. At last, there are reasons for cautious optimism.
Vaccinations have begun to make progress in containing the disease, thanks to the efforts of former President Trump who convinced pharmaceutical companies to make haste in developing a serum. Booster shots will be coming soon as are new, easier ways of delivering protective doses.
Deborah Fuller, PhD, an expert in the field of vaccines and antivirals, says that we can look forward to “an amazing toolbox to use to combat infectious disease for a long time to come.” For example, Fuller, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, says that progress is being made in the development of non-injectable vaccines that, for example, might be delivered through the nose or swallowed in pill form.
Meanwhile, the vaccines currently available are doing their job. Natalie Dean, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, says they “have really exceeded expectations in so many ways, and it’s just an enormous value that they can keep you from getting sick but also keep you from transmitting to others. Nothing is 100 percent, but I think people can understand the big reduction and the value of that. It changes how I think about what I want to do in a big way.”
The latest positive development in the race to conquer the COVID virus was reported recently when Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla announced that a pill that treats symptoms of the disease could be available to the public by the end of the year. It means that you wouldn’t have to go to a hospital for treatment, unlike current injectable medications. As he put it, “you could get it at home, and that could be a game-changer.”
And, Oravax Medical, a medical technology developer, is poised to begin clinical trials for an oral COVID vaccine sometime as early as this summer.
The happy side-effect of all this medical progress, particularly for seniors, is that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel as problematic protective restrictions begin to ease. The majority of states across the country have fully reopened or have reopened to some degree since vaccinations became available. And, a goodly number of states are eliminating the need to wear masks out of doors.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control new guidelines ease up on the need for masks for fully vaccinated individuals in outdoor spaces although the CDC recommends wearing masks in outdoor spaces that are densely populated. These venues include, for example, sporting events, concerts and parades.
In addition, the CDC has issued new travel regulations. In a nutshell, interstate travel for those who are fully vaccinated no longer require testing before and after a trip unless the authorities at your destination require it. Nor will vaccinated travelers in the U.S. need to self-quarantine upon their return.
As for international travel, if you are fully vaccinated you will no longer need to be tested before your trip unless authorities at your destination require it. And, you will not have to self-quarantine when you come home, although you are urged to have a test before returning.
You are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks’ after receiving your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Rebecca Weber is the Chief Executive Officer for the Association of Mature American Citizens. The 2 million member AMAC is a senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. They act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Opinions expressed are those of the author.