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Plus, our readers also have strong opinions about responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and more

PMG FILE PHOTO - Nurse Jennifer Tujo administers a vaccination to Francisco Mateo Sebastian during a Multnomah County clinic.It is safe to say that the majority of parents in Oregon are anxious. So much feels out of our control. Instead of looking forward to a summer vacation, a family reunion, camping and picnics, moms and dads are trying to figure out whether their kids will be able to go back to school this fall.

Regardless of whether kids are in a classroom or learning in their homes, there is one important way you can protect them from disease. And no, this does not involve wearing a mask, social distancing or handwashing! Last February, just as COVID-19 was rearing its ugly head in the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that 42% of young children were behind on their vaccinations, including prevention for whooping cough, measles and chickenpox. Today that number has increased to 63%.

While we wait for a vaccine to be developed for the coronavirus, we do have proven, safe and effective vaccines available for communicable diseases that once caused considerable death and misery. Please follow up with your health care provider to make sure your child's vaccines are up to date. This is one step we can all take to keep our kids healthy.

(Editor's note: Teri Mills is a registered nurse and the 2019 Oregon Nurse Foundation Nurse of the Year)

Terri Mills

Tualatin

Fact-check letters regarding COVID-19, influenza

I'd like to start by saying how pleased I am to support your efforts to continue strong, local journalism. What a deep need all of us across the country have for the kind of deep investigative journalism you do on a variety of topics focused on our area. We are lucky to have your staff and leadership.

With that said, I have to say how hugely disappointed I am that you printed one letter to the editor (Chas Malody, May 13) without rebutting the facts proffered in the letter. His comparison of COVID-19 to a seasonal flu is not a simple matter of one person's subjective opinion. It is a dangerous and incendiary confusion, and sadly, one that is being spread widely for political purposes.

At a minimum, I would hope that if you print similar letters in the future, you would offer a disclaimer that suggests readers look at facts from a reputable source such as the CDC.

It's a worthwhile debate about how and when the economy should reopen, but saying that COVID-19 is the same as a seasonal flu is not a point that has multiple sides. People who act on this misinformation will contribute to an ongoing tragedy of historic proportion. The death count in the U.S. is already too high.

Mary Anne Cassin

Southwest Portland

'Snowflakes' whining over COVID-19 pandemic

I propose we change the state flag of Oregon. We should retain the navy blue background on both sides but replace the state seal and the beaver with stylized white snowflakes, in honor of the egregious attitude of all those who think they have a right to stay safe and still get paid — most of them government employees.

Of course, the first issue of the flag should be raised over the state Capitol building, then lowered to half-staff in honor of all the businesses and tens of thousands of jobs lost when our esteemed governor decided everyone had to be kept safe by ordering everything closed. Gov. Kate Brown has no idea how much damage she has done to our state, and she can't be held legally responsible. What a system this was. …

There were millions killed by the Spanish flu 100 years ago, and we did not kill our economy over it. In 1969 when I graduated high school, there were another set of millions killed by the flu without us committing economic suicide. Why are we committing economic suicide now?

Because a bunch of folks who have never taken responsibility for themselves are whining that they need to be "kept safe" by Big Brother government, with which assessment I strongly disagree.

Mike Early

Mulino

Wyden: Aid cancer patients via Medicaid

An open letter to Sen. Ron Wyden:

My mother recently passed away after enduring a difficult battle with metastatic breast cancer for six years. As her caretaker, I saw and felt the demands that this disease puts on a fighter and a family.

Dependable health care coverage played a crucial role in making sure my mother got the care and support she needed to remain strong in her fight. That's why I know it's critical for cancer patients and survivors to have reliable health coverage, especially right now.

Cancer patients are at increased risk for COVID-19, but like so many Oregonians, they are facing significant health care challenges. I'm an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer, and we recently surveyed cancer patients and survivors. According to this poll, half said that COVID-19 has impacted their health care, causing delays or cancelled care. Nearly 40% said COVID-19 has had a notable effect on their ability to afford their care.

Our lawmakers should do everything to help Oregonians get the care they need. That's why I'm asking Sen. Ron Wyden to increase federal Medicaid funding to meet the rising demand created by this pandemic.

Medicaid is a vital safety net for lower income cancer patients and survivors who can't afford private health insurance. While some additional funding was granted as part of the Families First Act, governors from both parties agree more is needed.

Sen. Wyden, will you include additional Medicaid funding in the next COVID stimulus bill? Oregon cancer patients and survivors are counting on you.

Katie Donnewald

Northwest Portland

Vote to hold president, government accountable

On the third Monday in August 1979, I was called into the battalion commander's office where six civilians in suits awaited me, and the colonel informed me I was being volunteered to assist in a Congressional Budget Office investigation into military readiness and expenditures.

When he asked if I had any questions I had but one: "Am I to follow Army regulations or can I tell them the truth?" He assured me his command was not in jeopardy, and I could tell them what they needed to know.

Once again President Trump has terminated an inspector general whose duty was to report inconsistencies within his administration. The presidency is not a reality show like "The Apprentice." Elected officials at the federal, state, county and city levels need cold hard facts to make sound decisions. All too often, decisions are based on personal perception rather than facts, such as public transit, jail, education or the homeless generating massive waste of tax dollars. It's an election year, and time for citizens to become involved. And like my dad always said, "If you don't vote, don't complain."

Joseph Turner

Columbia City


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