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Letters to the Editor 2/4/21

Guest Opinion: Behind the scenes at the vaccination clinic

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Editor's note:

Happy February! After an eventful January, it's nice to look ahead to what could be an enriching Black History Month, filled with opportunities to focus on moving our country forward, rather than biting our nails about what political calamity might happen next. This week's Source Picks section includes a few great events to help mark Black History Month—including an Author! Author! event with Ta-Nehisi Coates. If only we were able to welcome him to Bend for an in-person appearance, as in other years—but online is what we get, and it's still worth your time.

@flycascades shared this awesome shot of our gorgeous mountains this week. Who's up for a bluebird day on the slopes? Tag @sourceweekly on Instagram for a chance to be featured here. - @FLYCASCADES / INSTAGRAM
  • @flycascades / Instagram
  • @flycascades shared this awesome shot of our gorgeous mountains this week. Who's up for a bluebird day on the slopes? Tag @sourceweekly on Instagram for a chance to be featured here.

As spring inches closer and the COVID-19 vaccine begins to be more widespread in our area and beyond, we hope the stories inside this week's issue give you some ways to look up, look ahead and keep moving forward.

Guest Opinion: Behind the scenes at the vaccination clinic

I've been volunteering at the vaccine clinic at the county fairgrounds since just after it opened on January 21. It's been one of the most rewarding—and intense—experiences of my life.

After less than two weeks, the clinic is running nearly seamlessly. Many people have told me that their entire experience from parking to exiting after their 15-minute respite (an observation period to watch for any serious side effects) has taken less than an hour. Contrast that with the long lines and wait times in other states. (Please note that appointments are required; walk-ins are not taken and there is no waitlist).

The clinic is the result of a strong partnership between the Deschutes County public health department and St. Charles. The leadership team ("incident command") has done a phenomenal job of coordinating the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, including dozens of members of the Oregon National Guard, and it runs like clockwork.

In fact, Deschutes County has done such a good job, ramping up to about 2,500 shots/day (so far), that we currently have the highest per capita rate of inoculations in Oregon other than Wheeler County, which has a population of less than 1,500.

My job is "flow," managing the Disney World-like lines and ensuring that people move efficiently from the parking lot to check-in, registration, vaccination and then respite. To make the process even easier, second doses are scheduled before you leave.

In this role I often get to chat briefly with people as they wait their turn. Many are emotional. All are gracious. Some share how overwhelming it feels to go from months of social isolation to being plunged into this huge space with hundreds of people. Others cry out of sheer relief that there's an end in sight. They have different reasons for coming. One gentleman told me that he had just buried a dear friend who had died from COVID. Another told me that he wants to get vaccinated so that he can help care for his disabled grandson.

It is a privilege to be giving back to my community in this way. In Central Oregon, people look out for each other. Hundreds have volunteered to work long shifts to help their friends and neighbors. For me, this is what makes living here so special.

If you'd like to help, you can sign up to volunteer on the Deschutes County website: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/deschutes/jobs/2881935/public-health-reserve-corps

Finally, please do get vaccinated as soon as you're eligible—but please don't cut in line, even if you somehow find a way to do so. With two additional vaccines likely to receive emergency authorization from the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] this month, supply should increase significantly and wait times will be shorter. You can sign up to be notified when it's your turn at vaccine.deschutes.org/.

— Angelique Loscar volunteers at St. Charles and is currently having flashbacks to her days working at Disney World.

Vaccine

Kudos to the streamlined and efficient Covid vaccine operation at the Expo Center. Pleasant and kind workers and volunteers made the senior experience so easy. They all deserve our gratitude for a job well done!

—Melissa Elliott

Vaccines

I am writing this letter to express my anger and frustration at Governor Brown's recent arbitrary decision to prioritize educators above seniors and those with underlying conditions, in obtaining  the COVID 19 vaccine.

My husband is 65 years old with a defective mitral heart valve and will require surgery in the near future. We have been religiously following the guidelines with respect to social distancing and masking. We have not seen our children or grandchildren in over a year. I have not been able to visit my 87-year-old mother in over a year. 

I am appalled that she would make this decision without seemingly understanding the full repercussions. If her motivation is to avoid hospitals filling up with COVID-19 patients, I fail to see the logic. Elderly people are the most vulnerable to this disease and those with underlying conditions the most likely to die. 

Please help me to understand how this decision could possibly be in the interest of public health. 

—Karen Jost

Healing

Most everyone realizes that our country desperately need's healing. We are not making meaningful progress. The need for such essential human characteristics as compassion, humility, tolerance and graciousness is lacking any meaningful progress. As a result, we are becoming more polarized, violent, disrespectful and tribal. How can we move toward civility without significant improvement in the human character?

— Quentin Jauquet (Stanko)

Letter of the Week:

Quentin: I'd love to know the answer to the question you posed at the end of your letter—though I suppose if you knew how to answer it in a practical and actionable way, you'd be up for the Nobel Peace Prize. For now, how about being awarded a Letter of the Week gift card? Come on in for your gift card to Palate.

—Nicole Vulcan

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