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The Spotlight publishes reader letters on COVID-19 vaccinations in Columbia County and medical transplants.

Doing the math on COVID-19 vaccination rates

As of today, 47% of Columbia County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID. [Ed.: The Spotlight received this letter to the editor last Wednesday, July 21.]

That means 53% of our fellow citizens don't care if local businesses remain fully open and recover from their financial losses, don't care if we can gather indoors for cultural and religious events, don't care if students will be able to attend school in person and participate fully in activities, and don't care if our families, friends, and neighbors become seriously ill and might die.

R.W. Blue, Scappoose

Transplant program needs congressional support

I work at Oregon Health & Science University as an unrelated donor coordinator for the bone marrow transplant program.

Every day, I help patients suffering from blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma in addition to bone marrow failure disorders. The curative treatment for these conditions is a bone marrow transplant, and I work specifically with the 70% of patients who do not have a donor match within their family.

To hopefully find patients a matching donor, I turn to the Nation's Registry, which was established by Congress in 1987 and is operated by National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match. However, this search is not always easy.

Each year, as many as 3,000 patients in need are unable to access transplant, and this disproportionately affects the BIPOC community.

Since its inception, NMDP/Be The Match has facilitated over 108,000 transplants. Despite their success, more must be done to break down the barriers to access to transplant.

To meet this vision, NMDP/Be The Match along with those of us in the donor and recipient community, are asking Congress for help. We are requesting an increase in funding for the Nation's Registry, and that request currently sits with the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley is a member.

While I am fortunate to help patients every day, I want to ensure that all patients have the same opportunity. It's heartbreaking when I must tell a patient we can't find a suitable donor, and that they will have to endure more chemotherapy while I continue the search. It's even worse when I must explain that we have run out of options.

In honor of these patients, I am asking Sen. Merkley to fully fund the extraordinary gift of transplant.

Joan Morgan, Happy Valley


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