The COVID Vaccine and In-Person Services
In March 2020, the whole world began shutting down. In the year since, re-opening attempts quickly slowed in the presence of new spikes. The first COVID-19 vaccine became available at the beginning of the year but has experienced multiple setbacks, including continual shortages that have prevented many non-essential workers from getting the vaccine even as newer versions come out.
If you’re like most people, you’re eager to get the new COVID vaccine, but it may not be possible in your area just yet. Here’s what you need to know about the vaccine and how it can put you and your community back on the path to joining in-person services at your church.
What Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Do?
In an attempt to spread the news quickly and in the excitement of knowing that the months of isolation could be winding to a close, there has been some misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. As with other vaccines, the COVID vaccine cannot cure or end an active case of COVID. Rather, the vaccine’s intent is to protect a healthy individual from contracting COVID.
Another important factor of the COVID vaccine is that it cannot guarantee protection against COVID. This virus has seen countless, rapid mutations, and the vaccine only protects against the primary strains. This is a start, but it means you still need to take precautions even after receiving the vaccine.
Here are some additional points to note:
- Protection is not permanent. The COVID vaccine will protect you from certain strains for 6 months or possibly longer. Additional studies will help us know the complete timeline.
- As of May 2021, there is still no vaccine available for newborns or children. More testing must take place before they can gain approval.
- If a woman gets vaccinated during late pregnancy, the antibodies her body generates may pass on to her newborn. Additional testing will help us fully understand the timeline and likelihood.
Ultimately, the COVID vaccine and the virus itself is very new, which means researchers are still working around-the-clock to produce a vaccination that is safe and effective. For now, you need to proceed with caution and not assume total protection after receiving the vaccine.
After getting vaccinated, it will take two weeks from your final dose for it take full effect. In the meantime, you should continue wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and following all the other precautions.
How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
While there were initial shortages of the COVID-19 vaccine – with it limited to essential workers (such as nurses and doctors) – the vaccine is now widely available. There are a few different versions of the vaccine on the market, with some requiring a second shot and others requiring only one.
When you register with a local provider to receive your COVID-19 vaccine, they’ll walk you through the process. Generally, you’ll come into the office wearing a mask, get the vaccine, and then wait 15 minutes on-site to ensure there is not a rare, but severe, allergic reaction. The vaccine shouldn’t take place same time as any other vaccine, and remember that it doesn’t offer immediate protection.
Life After the Vaccine
“After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces,” according to the CDC. Researchers are still working to understand and characterize how the vaccine protects you from COVID, so until further information is available, it’s important that you prioritize staying safe.
With that said, there are many things you can do after getting the vaccine that you could not do before. If you have been fully vaccinated, you can:
- Visit a private space with other fully vaccinated individuals your age without wearing a mask.
- Visit the home of low-risk individuals who have not received vaccines without wearing a mask.
- Travel domestically without the need for a COVID-19 test.
- Go anywhere domestically without the need to quarantine upon arrival.
- Travel internationally to some locations without the need for a COVID-19 test.
- Go to other countries without the need to quarantine upon arrival.
Even once you receive all doses of the vaccine, the CDC reminds you that you avoid visiting indoors without a mask if you’re around high-risk individuals. You also shouldn’t attend medium or large gatherings, so what does that mean for getting back to church?
Returning to Church With COVID Precautions
In-person church services have returned since vaccine efforts increased, but is it safe to attend? As long as you follow the CDC’s guidelines, you can safely start going back to church to enjoy in-person services.
High-risk individuals – with or without vaccines – should continue virtual services until more research is available about the efficacy of the vaccine. Those who are not fully vaccinated should also avoid in-person services. Low-risk individuals who have received all doses of the vaccine, however, can typically safely choose to start attending again.
Since church services are almost always indoors, you’ll want to ensure your church is spacing individuals from different households at least six feet apart. You should also continue to wear a mask during the service and especially while conversing with other churchgoers. Be mindful of the surfaces you touch and make sure to wash your hands before touching your face.
Ultimately, with the COVID-19 vaccine, your community will be able to get back to doing more of what they love. This includes in-person church services. What matters is that you and everyone else is taking proper precautions. This will help ensure we can keep moving forward instead of backward again.
Grow Your Church the Safe Way
Here at DonorWERX, we love seeing churches thrive. Are you looking for leadership advice to grow during these tough times? Reach out to DonorWERX today and schedule a free consultation. Together, we can grow your church safely and sustainably.