Vaccinated adults ready for normal life, gatherings

By Megan Wehring

KYLE – More neighborhood barbecues and parties may be a reality this summer as more COVID-19 vaccines become available.

Similar to testing, the vaccination process was frustrating for many Texans at the beginning as they waited for hours on end to be on the list. Now, more residents have received their first dose.

About 49,492 people in Hays County have been fully vaccinated while 83,693 have received at least one dose, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

COVID-19 has affected every resident in a different way but all can agree on one thing: they are ready to get back to a normal life as possible. Jimmy Miller is one of several vaccinated Hays County residents who has a bucket list for the summer or once it is safe again.

“I’m looking forward to neighbors getting together on this new deck we just built,” Miller said. “More sleepovers with my kiddos, going back to see my mom on mother’s day in Louisiana, a trip to the mountains in New Mexico and probably a trip overseas after my girlfriend is done with her assignment at a COVID hospital in Lubbock.”

Miller added that for the first time in more than a year, he attended in-person Mass on Easter Sunday.

“Being present in church again was wonderful,” Miller said. “I did online Mass most weekends but it’s just not the same, obviously. People are supposed to be with people.”

Resident Dana Levin Gribble is also planning to get together with more family and friends after receiving the vaccine.

“I would hope most will start getting back into in person events,” Gribble said. “Myself, family and friends have all for the most part been vaccinated so we are getting together socially more and more these days and feeling more comfortable about it. After all, that’s part of the reason we all were vaccinated.”

While many are looking forward to social outings, others are skeptical to let their guard down.

“I am worried that people have become relaxed and do not take this seriously,” said Elizcha del Rey, Kyle resident. “I am perplexed when I go to the grocery stores and see people lined up right behind me. They are not worried about themselves but should by all means hold a high regard for others.”

Rey explained it’s still important to practice social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently while also sanitizing hands before and after using a shopping cart, gas pump, menu or anything else in public.

Families and communities have struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year, just waiting for it to be over. Gribble concluded that people should take the precautions they feel are necessary but ultimately, they should not live in fear anymore.

“Get the vaccine if you want, take your Vitamin D and C, eat healthy and then get out there and don’t be afraid anymore,” Gribble said. “Live your life, we aren’t going to get the past year back.”

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About Author

Megan Navarro (Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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