Vaccination News

Now it really feels like mass vaccination. Igor got J&J on Thursday (as a journalist, through a charity event), so now only Vlad and Dylon need their second shots; everybody else is vaccinated. At least 1/3 of my co-workers are vaccinated as well.

Like everybody else, Illios is in the race between vaccines and new virus variances, but vaccines definitely work! During one of the recent press conferences, Dr. Ezike said that out of 1,800 people currently in the hospitals with COVID-19, only 72 were vaccinated. On the other hand, there are more new cases in the city’s parts with the highest vaccination rates, which tells that people are letting their guards down.

I hope that we are going to win this race, I certainly do!

As an eextra bonus – here is Igor’s article about vaccination in Austin.


On Monday, my vaccination group (1C) finally became eligible in Illinois, which meant that I could start to participate in these endless waiting rooms on the Cook County Health Care department. Starting from last Sunday, I already did three of them, and each time with no luck.  

I heard from other people how they would spend hours on the phone or online trying to find an appointment. And I started to think that having everything that’s going on in my life, I will have to wait until the vaccine becomes more available – I have no time for than hunt.

On Thursday, I received yet another text alert about the release of appointments and was ready to start trying again when I decided to check my personal email. I do not have much time for that during the workday, not like I am not allowed, but I do not have time. For some reason, I looked at it that very moment (and it was April Fool, mind you:)) and I saw a Palatine Township newsletter. There could be absolutely nothing urgent, but for some reason, I opened it. 

The first paragraph read:

April 3 Vaccination available for seniors (65+)

and their caregivers (55+)

While the first part was no news, the second part was, and I could not believe my eyes. There was a phone number to call, and I did. There was no wait, and there was a person, a human being, who answered. I sheepishly started to ask whether that’s true and whether the caregivers indeed are eligible. She asked for my date of birth and said – yes. She put down all my information and said that the vaccination center would call me and please pick up the calls and check my emails.

Twenty minutes later, my phone rang, and another human being was on the line to verify my information. 

I said that I do not want to cut the line, and I am not a full-time caregiver, but the lady said: yes, but you do take care of your mom! Of course, we want you to be vaccinated along with your mom! She told me where I need to go -a senior center on the North Shore, and she added that they do not know which vaccine it is going to be; it will be delivered that morning. But if I would need a second dose, she added, they would schedule it as well.

It all happened so fast! That was the end of my workday on Thursday, and when I came home, I found a consent form in my Inbox. And then it was Friday, and then – today. Everything was organized exceptionally well; there was no wait, the flow was smooth. However, the best part was that when I arrived, they told me that I would get Johnson & Johnson!!! I thought that it would be great, but not that many chances, and it happened! As my mom said, those who are above us realized how little spare time I have! 

Our athorities ask us not to post selfies with vaccination cards anymore amidst the fraud concerns, so here comes a picture of the goodie bag I got in the senior center 🙂

“Be The Change”

I acted according to this statement multiple times in the past couple of weeks. I posted this photo on the instagram today and steered some discussion. Luckily, i have enough supporters 🙂 I am so tired of all this “but it is impossible to wear mask all the time!”

Yes, it is possible to workout in a mask! I purposely chose the hardest on your breath machine for this photo – the stair-climber.

First Day Of Spring, And Looking Forward To Summer

In yesterday’s email from our Park District, they mentioned that they are hiring lifeguards and swimming instructors, which means… yes! which means that pools will be open! Yes, most likely, I won’t be there by the time they open but still :). I am happy for Palatine right now.

I am not a sports fan in any sports and any capacity, so I can’t appreciate that they started to sell tickets for some games. But Ravinia… that’s something which makes me smile and anticipate!

I hope, hope, hope one million times that a good portion of the summer things will be back for summer. My mom is keeping asking, “when will we be able to go around without masks,” but as for me, I won’t mind wearing masks for several more months as long as places are open and we can do things.

Chicago River Goes Green, At Least Partially

I was escorting in the clinic this morning, when one of my fellow escorts mentioned that the River indeed went green this morning. I decided, I need to check on that, because Igor didn’t mention anything like that yesterday.

Turned out that Mayor Lory quietly sanctioned the dyeing of the river:

The Chicago River glowed Kelly green downtown this St. Patrick’s Day weekend after all, but the usual cheering throngs crowding the banks during the annual dumping of the dye were much thinner.

In a remarkable attempt to give Chicagoans a bit of mid-March normalcy, while also trying to avoid the kind of large public gathering she’s still discouraging during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot sanctioned the famous river dyeing to proceed Saturday without confirming the exact time, marveling passing revelers, dog walkers and joggers alike.

Chicago Tribune, read the whole story here

And here is what I saw at noon (click the arrows to see all the pictures)

In The News

First of all, I can’t even describe how happy I am with the new child credit included in the COVID relief bill. First time in the US history, it means the guaranteed income. As some of the political commentators say, it feels weird that people pay less attention to that measure than to anything in this bill.

My friends in Finland would not understand why I am so excited about this, because they had child credit forever. But for us – what a difference! Jus$900t think: if this would be on place when I first came to the US, I would have extrs $900 a month! OK, adjusted to inflation it would be more like $600 at that time. But thinking that back then, my monthly net pay was $2,333 and I spent $1000 a month on daycare – can you imagine?! I am so happy for all the parents, and so proud of our country:)

On the same note – finally the vaccinations started to pick up. Although the vaccination efforts are driven by the states, you can see what a difference a leadership on the federal level can make. I am hopeful, like I haven’t been for a long time.

And Yet Again – Masks

I am deeply saddened by all the no-masks-and-everything-is-open in Russia. I resolved a long time ago not to argue with my compatriots about mask-wearing and do not comment on their posts about gathering with friends, visiting older relatives, attending theater performances, and such. 

I hardly know anybody in Russia who did not have COVID. And I know way too many older and immuno-compromised people who didn’t survive. My mom lost lots of her friends, or her friends lost their husbands. And I do not buy these arguments that “they were old anyway.” I just do not understand how it proves anything.

On Saturday, Boris told me that professor Romanovsky passed away. He was the Operations Research Lab leader in our university, Boris’s boss at some point. I attended a number of his classes. Yes, he was the same age as my mom, so what? My mom is alive. 

When I talked to Anna about that, she commented that the country reached herd immunity by sacrificing the older and immunocompromised population, and I have nothing to add. 

Yesterday, I read a blog post of my friend from a small town in the Ural mountains. Her older son has severe cerebral palsy, and for almost a year, she is holding the fort. She wrote about a delivery driver who walked into her apartment instead of staying outside. I asked her: was he wearing a mask? For which she replied: of course, not. 

It’s absurd. It’s worse than in Georgia. 

Masks One More Time

I just finished watching this video about ethical questions and COVID vaccine One of the things which were discussed was a fact that not wearing a mask is a disrespect to everybody around you. I agree with this statement entirely, and that being said – back to masks in the gym. After I published that post, I went to the gym on Sunday and discovered the sign requiring to wear masks on the gym door:

I thought that having this sign is out there I will feel comfortable calling out the maskless people. But when the situation presented itself, I didn’t say a world. That kind of behavior does not make me look good, but it is what it is. I quite literally felt scared around these big guys!

Now, I need to decide whether I will be ready “to say something,” or I should just stop going to the gym till the end of March!