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The “ joy and envy ” of the FOMO vaccine

Earlier this year, Shay Fan felt relief: the vaccinations were underway. Her relief turned to joy when her parents and in-laws got vaccinated.

Three months later, Ms. Fan, a 36-year-old freelance marketer and writer in Los Angeles, is still waiting for hers, and that joy is gone.

“I want to be patient,” she said.

But scroll down Instagram and see “people in Miami without masks spraying champagne in someone else’s mouth,” as she sits in her apartment, having not had a haircut or been to a restaurant since. over a year, made patience difficult to practice. . “It’s like when all your friends get engaged before you and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m happy for them, but when is it my turn?

For much of the pandemic, the same rules have been applied: stay home, wear a mask, wash your hands.

But now, with the increased distribution of vaccines in some regions but not others, the rules diverge around the world, and even within the same country.

In Britain, people are cautiously emerging from more than three months of lockdown, and 47 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. In New York City, where at least 34% of the state’s residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, we’re talking about near-normal life.

However, France, where only 14 percent of the population has received a dose of the vaccine, has just entered its third lockdown. And India, which has administered a dose to 5% of its population, reported 97,000 new cases on Monday, near its highest level since the start of the pandemic. There are dozens of countries – including Japan, Afghanistan, Kenya and the Philippines – that have administered only one dose to less than 2 percent of their population.

Juliette Kayyem, 51, a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, said the wait was even more difficult as she continued to hear about acquaintances she didn’t believe was in priority groups. , getting vaccinated before her.

“Is there a word for joy and envy simultaneously?” Ms. Kayyem said.

Ms. Kayyem received her first dose at the end of March. But, instead of relief, she felt another pandemic stress attack, as her husband and teenagers were still unvaccinated.

Tristan Desbos, a 27-year-old pastry chef living in London, received his first injection recently but said his family in France were unable to get vaccinated even though many of them are in a high risk category . “They don’t understand why they can’t get vaccinated in France,” he said.

In the European Union, the main problem is the supply of vaccines. Amid a deadly new wave of cases, Germany has imposed a partial lockdown, Italy has banned most of its population from going out except for essential reasons, and Poland has closed non-essential stores.

Agnès Bodiou, a 60-year-old nurse in France, said she had waited weeks for her first vaccine, despite the government’s promise to prioritize health workers. “The Americans were successful in vaccinating, the British too,” she said. “We are still waiting.”

The end of the pandemic also seems far away in the Canadian province of Ontario, which entered a four-week state of emergency on Saturday amid record numbers of intensive care patients. Massimo Cubello, a 28-year-old man who lives in Toronto, said he was happy for his vaccinated friends in the US and Britain, but his Zoom fatigue sets in and the aisle visits with limbs of his family have not been so easy. because of the cold weather.

“It’s good to see people get vaccinated because it’s all part of the process to get to where we need to go, but it certainly makes you a little envious and anxious to know when we as Canadians will be in. able to do so. experience this for ourselves, ”said Cubello, who works in marketing.

In the United States, this divide has mainly occurred along generational or racial lines. The elderly, who make up the majority of those vaccinated, have dined indoors, hugging their grandchildren and throwing parties, while many young people are still ineligible or repeatedly find the ‘no date’ message. When they tried to book vaccinations.

Dr Lynn Bufka, a psychologist and senior director of the American Psychological Association, said the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on adolescents and that a long wait for vaccines to be distributed to them could add to stress.

“Children are in many ways those people whose lives have been disrupted as much as anyone, but with less life experience of how to cope with these types of disruptions,” said Dr Bufka.

For American adults, at least, the fear of missing out shouldn’t last any longer. President Biden has pledged enough doses by the end of next month to immunize all of the country’s estimated 260 million adults. In fact, the pace of vaccinations is accelerating to such an extent that officials in the Biden administration predict the supply of coronavirus vaccines will exceed demand by the middle of next month, if not sooner.

Ms Fan, the freelance writer and marketer in Los Angeles, will be able to make an appointment for a vaccine in mid-April. She doesn’t plan on doing anything wild – the basics are what she expects the most. “I just need a haircut,” she says.

Constant Meheut contribution to reports.

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