As board members of the Thurston-Mason County Medical Society, we are gravely concerned with local vaccination rates. Thurston and Mason counties have an overall vaccination rate of only 50 percent. Just 18 months ago, life as we knew it was irrevocably changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 600,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19. This includes upwards of 6,000 Washingtonians and 147 residents of Thurston and Mason counties. Furthermore, the profound effects on everyone’s general wellbeing cannot be understated.
Fortunately, there have been several promising developments that will bring us closer to the end of this pandemic and a beginning of new normal times. The biggest game changer is the development of three COVID-19 vaccines. Each teaches our cells to produce a protein found on the virus. This allows the body to develop a strong immune response to the virus, so if we later contract it, our immune system can quickly and effectively fight off infection. None of these vaccines change our DNA. None are made from aborted fetuses. None put trackers in our bodies. All the vaccines keep people from becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19.
Nationally, over 160 million people have been fully vaccinated, including 4 million residents of Washington state. The data is clear. Vaccines are safe and highly effective. They are also readily available and free to everyone. Despite this, COVID-19 is far from defeated. In fact, it is becoming more dangerous than ever as new variants are discovered. The delta variant is not only more contagious, but it is also deadlier. Studies clearly show that most recently hospitalized COVID-19 patients are not vaccinated; many are also younger with no pre-existing conditions.
Our duty as medical providers is to keep our patients healthy and do no harm. To this end, we need to provide reliable information so our patients can make informed decisions. Thus, we have studied the data and analyzed the results of the available COVID-19 vaccines. Our conclusion is clear. The vaccines are safe and effective. People do not have to die from COVID-19.
Each member of our board is a medical provider in Thurston or Mason counties. We have all been vaccinated against COVID-19. We strongly urge everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine. If not for yourself, for your loved ones, neighbors and the world we share.
Thurston-Mason County Medical Society Board of Trustees
Robert Lang, MD, president
RJ Widrow, MD, treasurer
Kevin Roscoe, MD, trustee
Margaret MacLeod, MD, FAAFP (ret), trustee
Eddy Cates, MD, trustee
Alexandra Harmony, DO, trustee
Chelsea Unruh, MD, trustee
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