The pandemic made 2020 an especially challenging year, and it continues on to this year. Yet, I see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hopeful we will be able to offer some in-person sessions this summer or in the fall. The details still need to be worked out, and so please stay tuned.
What changed? Vaccinations. In particular, people who have been fully vaccinated should be able to meet indoors without masks. This is in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines. To quote, “Fully vaccinated people can […] visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.”
Of course, not everyone can be vaccinated. That is one reason those who can be vaccinated will hopefully choose to get vaccinated. It will protect both their community as well as themselves. Our common goal is to get to population or herd immunity.
I am cautiously optimistic. There is a race between vaccinations and the evolution of new variants such as the B.1.351 variant which may partially evade current vaccines. Fortunately, new vaccines that target the new troubling variants are in clinical trials or will be soon.
Where does one get vaccinated? There are multiple channels, and it can make the system difficult to navigate. The federal government supplies vaccines to the states. In California, the state controls distribution to state-run sites and also to individual counties. The county in turn allocates vaccines to county-run sites and to local pharmacies and healthcare agencies such as Kaiser and Sutter Health. Each county and agency may have different policies for who qualifies to be vaccinated. At some sites, you may be able to get an “extra dose” even if you do not qualify so doses are not wasted. Sometimes people do not show for appointments. It is kind of like flying as a standby passenger.