Douglas County has always come together.
Through feast or famine, everyone in the Umpqua Valley is quick to help their neighbor. The shooting at Umpqua Community College showed the nation our unique and unquestioned love for our community, and since then, we’ve continued to offer a helping hand at every turn.
Hundreds of people revved their 4x4s when the snow crashed the electrical grid during Snowmageddon, hundreds more stood should-to-shoulder during the Timber Unity rally in Salem, and many literally picked up garden hoses during the Archie Creek Fire and again during the residential fire in Green in an effort to extinguish running fires.
This doesn’t even include the countless times a neighbor ran to the store for groceries, all the times someone chipped into a local GoFundMe, or the dozens of organizations set up with the sole focus of putting our residents first.
Sadly, we’re in another situation where our neighbors desperately need our help. Luckily, we know everyone is up to the challenge.
COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere unless we get vaccinated. There’s no way around it. The virus is deadly, cares little about our political persuasions, and is terrifyingly transmittable.
But it has one giant weakness: The vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and available, and play a crucial role in eradicating the pandemic. Millions of Americas have already been fully vaccinated and more and more are choosing to each day. On average, about 450,000 Americans a day are choosing to get vaccinated, up from about 260,000 per day a month ago.
The increase is encouraging, and it’s well represented here, too. According to the most recent numbers released by the Douglas County COVID-19 Recovery Team, vaccination rates among Douglas County residents have been steadily increasing.
But we’re not there yet. Even with the recent increase, our county’s vaccination rate is still only 58.4%.
Which means more and more of our neighbors will needlessly catch a disease that we could help prevent. Our local leaders are working tirelessly to make the vaccination available to all, our local hospital is inundated, and our local physicians are begging us to get vaccinated.
So if you have, thank you. If you’re still waiting, we ask that you do.
The Pfizer vaccine just earned full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, but all three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — have been shown to be extremely safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and death.
No vaccine comes without possible side effects. And if you’re worried about them, we implore you to talk to the same health professionals that you’d trust to save your life. But it’s important to know that our hospitals are filled with COVID patients — not people suffering the side effects of the vaccine.
If you just haven’t gotten around to it, know that it’s never been easier to get the shot. The Douglas County Tiger Team is setting up mobile vaccination sites throughout the county, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians has health clinics available to everyone in the community, Aviva Health is offering clinics in Roseburg.
Those looking to get vaccinated can find information at dougcovaccine.com or by calling the Douglas County COVID-19 Hotline at 541-464-6550. Those living on the coast can call the Lower Umpqua Hospital district’s COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 541-271-2175, veterans can call the Roseburg VA Health Care System at 541-440-1000 and seniors can call Douglas County Senior Services at 541-440-3677.
Once you get your vaccine, we’d love to hear your story. We’ve created a Google Form to collect and share your experiences and to tell others in the county why you decided to get vaccinated. To share, go to bit.ly/vaccinationstory.