NEW YORK—A group of fully vaccinated Filipinos got a glimpse of the future and a taste of how life could be after the pandemic.
It's a glimpse of what life may look like after the coronavirus pandemic, a sense of normalcy after a year of pandemic lockdowns, quarantines, loss of loved ones and weekly Zoom sessions.
This group of fully vaccinated friends finally got together for an in-person celebration of birth, life and survival.
Josh Vasquez, who celebrated his birthday with a few of his friends, said that it was not only a celebration of his birthday, but also a "celebration of life and that great feeling of having that sense of more normalcy, so I think that's something we should celebrate about."
"One year na tayong na-lockdown, one year tayong masyadong limited 'yung kilos natin. But now we're almost back to normal. At least that's something we should celebrate," Vasquez said.
These Filipinos are among the more than 74 million who are now fully vaccinated in the United States, or 22.3 percent of the population.
According to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, vaccinated people can now safely gather with other fully vaccinated people with caution.
In the case Vasquez and his friends, their "kamayan" party included using food safe gloves, and providing separate sauces and dips for each person.
"It gives you more confidence to know to to be able to do these things plus we’re still following CDC guidelines naman, di ba, to still wear mask in public but among a close group of friends who are fully vaccinated there are things that you can already do," Vasquez said.
Some of them are even hoping the use of vaccine passports will be required when spending more than an hour in an enclosed space such as museums, theaters or restaurants.
"No one is exempted for this situation so please respect the rights of others. Get vaccinated when the time comes but, for the meantime, stay safe with family and respect others freedom to be . . . To live safely," Joebert Opulencia said.
The CDC said a person is only considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last dose of vaccine.
Until a vast majority has been vaccinated, or until herd immunity is achieved, only then can COVID-19 precautions be lifted.