News: Reason For Optimism

The 1-year anniversary of the pandemic is closely approaching.  We closed our offices on March 13th, 2020 for what we thought would be a couple of weeks to get control of the outbreak.  A year later, life has still not returned to normal.  Many of us have lost loved ones, endured financial hardship, and fundamentally changed how we are living our lives.
There is reason for optimism, however. The vaccination process is moving ahead at a decent pace; the number of infections is trending downward; and we will soon be able to resume life as we knew it a year ago.
80 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the United States with very few serious reactions. While only 10-15% of the population is fully vaccinated, the impact is already resulting in fewer new infections. The single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine was released this week. It is very safe and does not require the cold storage of the other vaccines. The impact will be huge as it gets more widely distributed. 
The first message for this update is that we cannot return to normal life yet. While we are all fatigued, the sun is shining, and days are longer, we feel the desire to move on and return to the activities that we have missed so much. For the next 4-6 weeks, however, we need to continue to practice all the things that have kept us safe with masks, social distancing, and hand washing to prevent another spike in infections. 
We saw an increase in new infections following the winter holidays and we need to be cautious about upcoming holidays such as Easter and Passover.  We are recommending limiting gatherings in large groups for these holidays to people who have received full vaccination.
Many of you have expressed frustration in finding vaccine availability.  The following links can help in obtaining a vaccine.  Availability will continue to increase over the next couple of months.
We have seen different approaches to vaccination in different states.  Friends and relatives elsewhere may have had an easier time obtaining a vaccine. Illinois has a strict “Equity-centric vaccination approach” prioritizing individuals and geographies who have shown to be the most vulnerable to severe illness and death during the pandemic.  We continue to be in phase 1B allowing frontline essential workers and residents age 65 and over to get vaccinated. 
We recommend looking at the different pharmacy vaccine programs online.  You might be able to find more availability in zip codes in counties further South of the Chicago area.
Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and North Shore University Health Systems are each independently sending invitations to patients to get vaccinated.  There is no registration necessary and there is no way to determine when you will get your invitation.
We have applied to become a vaccine administration site at our office but doubt this will happen in the near term.  We will continue to keep you aware of ways to find a vaccine as we monitor the situation.
Hang in there and stay safe!! 

March 5, 2021