‘Feeling of Exhilaration': San Diegans Voice Optimism After Being Fully Vaccinated

As of Thursday, 303,995 people in San Diego county have received their second COVID-19 dose, which equates to 11.3% of the eligible people

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People who are now fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are voicing a great sense of relief after receiving their second dose.

“It’s just a feeling of exhilaration, and happiness,” said Mark Smith of Bonita.

“I’m just really, really happy. I didn’t know that second dose would mean that much, but it’s like we’ve traveled through this tunnel of darkness for a little over a year now, and finally, this means there’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel and it’s like ‘hey, there it is, we’re getting there, we’re at least making progress,’” said Smith

Smith, 71, received his second dose last Wednesday and says one of the things he’s happiest about is being able to once again hug his three grown sons and grandchildren.

“Not being able to hug them, my little grandsons, not being able to touch them, not being able to get together on Christmas, and Thanksgiving and those things, for me, it has been very distressful,” said Smith.

Meanwhile, Carolynn and Gary Crooks-Mueller say they’re thrilled that they’ll soon be able to travel again.

“I think the first thing is I immediately planned a trip to Hawaii. So I feel safer," said Carolynn Crooks-Mueller.

Carolynn, 72, says she recalls being asked if she was excited by the person who administered her second dose on Feb. 15.

“They asked me if I was excited. And I looked at him and I said 'Yeah, I am. I’m really excited.' And two people later asked and it just gave me a sense of joy,” she said.

Gary Crooks-Mueller, 73, recalled the frustration of dealing with cancellations and online headaches trying to confirm the couple’s appointments for their second doses. In the end, there is a great sense of relief.

“We worked really hard to get those appointments and waited in some big long lines to get it, and it was a lot of work, but we felt like it was worth it, and in the aftermath, we do feel a weight lifted,” he said.

While there is a feeling that a great weight has been lifted, though fully vaccinated, they still plan to wear masks and follow distancing protocols.

“Part of continuing to wear a mask is the social responsibility of hoping not to spread it, until they know how much can be spread. They say a lot of that’s cut down, but they don’t know for sure yet,” said Gary Crooks-Mueller.

“I certainly don’t feel home free. I just feel a sense of relief, a sense of joy,” said Carolynn Crooks-Mueller.

“The challenge is, yeah, I want to go to a restaurant, go to a movie, and I want to be with my family more, but I’ve got to take it very easy, and say 'Wait a minute, you’re lucky to be alive,'" said Smith.

As of Thursday, March 4, 303,995 people have been fully vaccinated in San Diego County. That equates to 11.3% of the county population eligible to be vaccinated.

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