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This week of Thanksgiving, we're publishing our weekly readers' letters a few days early.

Vaccine distribution shouldn't be based on politics

I am from New York originally, and my parents and most of my family still lives there.

As a Portlander/New Yorker, I have grown used to the president targeting my two homes for his own political ends, but he still proves capable of shock.

A press conference about rare good news, a vaccine from Pfizer that may be 90% effective, will be remembered for the president's threat that he may deny the people of New York access to a vaccine.

Why? New York's governor has said the state intendeds to conduct its own review of a COVID vaccine's approval by the federal government. Oregon has followed suit, as have other states who, in the face of the president's naked politicization of the vaccine process in the leadup to the election, want to ensue citizens have confidence in the vaccine.

It is unconscionable for any federal leader, let alone the president, to suggest that Americans in an individual state should be denied access to a vaccine simple because state leaders want to affirm its efficacy and boost confidence. There are real lives like those of my parents at play. And while we can hope a Biden administration will work with the vaccine developers and states to make sure a vaccine is available to all Americans, this administration, in the time it has left, should not use a vaccine as a cudgel against "blue" states.

New York was first to receive that threat; would you be surprised if Oregon were next?

Elizabeth Cochran, Portland

Oregon should not shut down again

To Kate Brown and the decision-makers in Oregon,

You are killing businesses and jobs, including my business.

In April/May, Oregon "shut down" to avoid overcrowding hospitals, which never happened. Now, we can't go to work because there are too many cases. The narrative has conveniently changed.

COVID-19 is serious, but how serious? Serious enough to cost big and small businesses shutting down permanently, people losing their jobs permanently, kids losing touch with life and social skills, families breaking up due to divorce or mental health challenges (because of lost jobs/wages)? No, it's not.

And for the record, this list is endless.

Fewer businesses and fewer jobs means less revenue for the state or Oregon as well, which means fewer jobs for government workers.

The number of cases was always going to increase when the weather turned this fall, because people stay inside, which is the main contributing factor to how COVID-19 spreads. People aren't hosting mass parties, for I see people being reasonable with their actions and interactions, both inside and outside of buildings.

Having faith in people is what government officials should be stressing right now, not forcing a economic and social shutdown.

We all know that this upcoming 14-day shutdown is going to last much longer, probably through Christmas or even in January or February 2021. This is the last thing Oregonians need.

Seven hundred sixty-two Oregonians have died because of COVID, but virtually all of these people were elderly and had multiple pre-existing conditions that contributed to a weak immune system, unable to fend off COVID-19. [Ed.: Since this letter was received, 64 more deaths in Oregon from COVID-19 were reported as of Tuesday morning, Nov. 24.] If you're concerned about COVID-19, then take precaution, but our governor shouldn't take away our livelihood to earn money to buy groceries, to pay our electric bill, or buy Christmas presents for kids this December, or to donate to just causes this holiday season.

Four million Oregonians are struggling vs. a few thousand who have COVID-19 and few hundred elderly have/may die. It's sad when people die, regardless of cause, but even sadder when an entire state dies.

Hazen Hyland, Tualatin

Shopping local is the only thing that can save small businesses

Time now to refocus.

Powell's Books has a billboard that says: "Amazon's gonna be fine, folks. Shop independent."

Take that to heart. Local, independent stores are what makes a real town.

If you want our towns to survive, put your money where your mouth is. Amazon truly is going to be fine but our towns, as we have known them, may for the most part disappear without your purchases.

Make the conscious effort to actually shop, and eat, local — now most especially, and long-term as well.

Don't have "woulda, coulda, shoulda" remorse.

Susan Karp, Amity


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