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.

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(8) comments

mworden

According to the CDC tracker, the percent of eligible residents who are fully vaccinated is 49.9 We're almost at 50 percent. An improvement, but still terrible.

The percentage of the *total* population who are fully vaccinated is 43.7. But thousands of children under the age of 12 are not eligible. The vaccine has not yet been approved for them. That 43.7 percentage stat gives an artificially low view of vaccine willingness in our county.

The percentage of the population *age 18 and above* who have received at least *one dose* is 59.7. That looks rosy, as if we're heading in the right direction, but it leaves out teenagers and neglects the fact that too many people are neglecting to get the second dose. As a result, they may not have great immunity.

There are ways to lie with statistics. One way is to choose a data set that does not represent the real goal we are trying to reach. We want as many eligible people as possible in all age groups to become fully vaccinated.

All those numbers are important. But if you choose to report only the data that most closely conforms with the your narrative, then you're not being honest, even if the numbers are accurate.

People are not stupid, even if they happen to be thinking emotionally at the moment. Once they figure out that your stats are skewed, they'll never trust the stats or the facts again. They'll stick with whatever they already believe, dig their heels in and refuse to budge. That happens on both the right and the left.

So cut it out. You all are better than that. 49.9 percent of eligible Douglas County residents are fully vaccinated. It's an improvement, but still not good enough.

Mike

This editorial says, "our county’s vaccination rate is still only 58.4%." It doesn't specify "eligible" or "ineligible." It doesn't specify "one shot" or "fully vaccinated."

This 58% proclaimed by this editorial represents "eligible" residents who have received at least "one dose" of vaccine, a highly optimistic portrayal of vaccination status, not the percentage of the total population that has been vaccinated and which is most frequently reported nationwide.

The fact that an Editorial Board, members of which are supposed to correct such inaccurate generalizations, published this misleading number is concerning.

mworden

Nothing I say is likely to sway your opinions, Mike, but other people read these comments. I'm talking to them, especially if they have questions about whether it's too late to get vaccinated.

There are 48 million children under 12 in the US. That's close to 15% of the total population They are not eligible for vaccination at this point because the vaccine has not been approved for children under age 12. Not yet. Soon, I hope.

If we include them in the total number of people who must be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity -- which is higher with Delta than with the original version of the virus -- then it makes herd immunity through vaccination an unreachable goal. Some have called it mythical.

People tend to stop reaching for unreachable goals. But if a thousand or ten thousand more people in Douglas County got fully vaccinated it could keep our hospital system from being overwhelmed. It could keep our medical workers from collapsing.

In a situation such as this, it's important to have more than a single goal. The health of the medical system, the medical workers and people who have non-covid medical crises is important. Getting to 60% of eligible people fully vaccinated could help our doctors and nurses and techs. We have the resources here to vaccinate 10,000 more Douglas County residents in September. That could make Thanksgiving and Christmas a lot happier for families and for our hospital.

We have to work with what we have. What we have are good vaccines that have been approved for people age 12 and above.

I urge everyone over age 12 who has not been vaccinated to get it done ASAP. It may save your life or the life of your child. It may save Christmas. It may save a nurse or doctor from PTSD.

I heard a TV doctor say the other day that we are quickly moving away from a nation of the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Instead we're moving toward a nation of the vaccinated and infected. It was Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Not my favorite guy, but a lot of people rely on him. Can we really afford to see another 50 million or 100 million Americans sick with covid?

We don't want people to get infected. We don't want the hospitals overwhelmed. We don't want people with heart attacks or raging infections to avoid care because the hospitals are full of covid patients. So the more people getting vaccinated the better.

The situation right now is dire. I see no benefit in making it look even more dire than it is. Children under age 12 are not eligible yet, not anywhere in the USA. It's not their fault or their parents' fault. They are not eligible.

Only 50% of eligible people in Douglas County have been fully vaccinated. A terrible record. Nothing to be proud of. Dire. Scary. Please, go get vaccinated. If ten thousand people in Douglas County got vaccinated in September, it would help. It's not ideal. But it could relieve pressure on the hospital and save your stubborn, cussed, ornery life. I happen to think ornery lives are worth it. Even if I cuss at you.

Mike

And yeah, I get it. An issue is ONLY concerning if YOU say it is.

Mike

Neighbors helping neighbors shouldn’t be the News-Review publishing misinformation. Why does the News-Review consistently claim a FALSELY high 58.4% vaccination rate for Douglas County? The CDC (below link), which tracks the vaccination rate in every U.S. county, including VA Hospitals and Tribal sites, indicates only 43.6% of Douglas County is fully vaccinated TODAY and 49.9% have received at least one dose.

The News-Review consistently fails to explain their 58.4% is the percentage of vaccinated residents 12+ years old and older and does not include the population of the county’s children. Whereas, percentages presented by the CDC and the rest of the U.S. universally presents percentages of the ENTIRE vaccinated population, including their children. This makes it an apples to oranges comparison when comparing the News-Review’s vaccination rate to the rest of the U.S.

I contend the News-Review’s misinformation provides Douglas County residents with a false belief, a sense of security, that we are closer to herd immunity than we really are. Continuing to publish this false information reduces the urgency Douglas County residents may feel to get vaccinated, thus endangering those who then decide to postpone getting vaccinated. Publishing this type of misinformation is NOT how a Neighbor helps their neighbor.

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations-county-view

Mike

1,202 Douglas County residents received their first vaccination dose last week according to the Oregon Health Authority (below link), which is a decrease from the previous week when 1,309 residents received their first dose.

https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/oregon.health.authority.covid.19/viz/OregonCOVID-19VaccinationTrends/OregonStatewideVaccinationTrends

mworden

Thank you, News-Review, for this editorial.

What I'd really like to see is the newspaper running a side banner or ROP on the front page every day telling people where they could get vaccinated or tested. I'm talking about something similar to the furniture ad on today's front page.

Surprisingly, people still say they don't know how to get vaccinated. Instructions on the front page and on-line could help. If a person who doesn't read the paper complains to a friend about not knowing what to do, the friend could hand them the paper and, well ... maybe it might help.

And if anyone from the Tribe is reading -- great full page ad today on school bus safety and keeping our kids safe. You run a similar ad every year. How about running big ads urging people to keep our kids safe by getting vaccinated? The Tribe is doing a great job by providing free vaccinations.

CitizenJoe

Thank you.

Great editorial--except for that plug for Timber Unity, which acts as an anti-communitarian organization to defeat our defenses against climate catastrophe.

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