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'Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, the faster we can get it into the hands of people everywhere, the better.'

The latest news of COVID-19 cases spiking across Oregon is truly devastating.

After months of extreme precaution by our state's residents and tireless, around-the-clock work of our health professionals, we were all hopeful that the state was on a path to containing the novel coronavirus. While Oregon's infection rate remains lower than most other states, we still must do all that we can to subdue the increase in the number of new cases and hospitalizations. At the same time, pharmacies, hospitals, physicians and the government must also adequately prepare.

Throughout the pandemic, our health care system has been working on overdrive to ensure the best care for patients — both to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to satisfy daily medical needs. In rural Oregon, in particular, we need every single aspect of our health care system to keep running in order to protect everyone in our community.

From drug makers to hospitals to pharmacies, the supply chain is a fine-tuned system that moves the medical products that fill pharmacy shelves and hospital inventories from point A to point B. While most Americans take this system for granted, our leaders cannot.

Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, the faster we can get it into the hands of people everywhere, the better. Storing and transporting pharmaceutical products will be critical to ensuring the integrity of the supply chain. In light of all the disruptions to our normal lives, it will be more important than ever that our leaders work together to help coordinate and connect vaccine manufacturers to distributors to patients.

In the meantime, all Oregon residents must continue to socially distance and wear your masks.

Eric Myers, Scappoose


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