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Support Helt’s immunization bill

We laud Cheri Helt’s sponsorship of House Bill 3063, which removes the nonmedical immunization exemption and requires children attending public school to receive appropriate immunizations as outlined by the Oregon Health Authority and Centers for Disease Control. As community pediatricians caring for the children of Central Oregon, the most critical work we do is administer vaccines to prevent severe illness.

Immunization hesitancy has become an issue we increasingly confront as pediatricians. As preventable diseases such as measles, pertussis, and tetanus have decreased with systemic immunization, many have forgotten the serious health risk these diseases still pose. Immunization rates in Oregon, and especially Deschutes County, have dropped over the past 20 years.

As a result, we risk an increasing emergence of vaccine preventable disease, placing immunocompromised children and adults at great risk, as well as infants who do not yet have the opportunity to receive protection.

Vaccines have substantial evidence supporting their safety and efficacy. It is estimated that annually, vaccines in the United States alone prevent 20 million cases of disease and over 40,000 early deaths. The risks of not protecting the most vulnerable among us are profound. Parents will still be able to choose whether or not to vaccinate their children. Importantly, this bill will ensure that children who are vulnerable do not have to go to school in an environment which endangers their health.

Please stand behind Cheri Helt and our representatives in Salem and support this essential legislation in the protection of Oregon’s children.

Dr. Breanna Lewis and Dr. John Peoples

Bend

Border is not secure

At what point did some of our leaders decide that the agenda and power of a political party is more important that what is good for the country?

Senator Merkley’s and Senator Wyden’s emails express no concern for the porous southern border. Democrats do not support needed funds and updated laws to secure the border. This inaction attracts thousands of immigrants. When the border patrol is overwhelmed with these numbers, Democrats criticize the president because there are not enough detention facilities to properly house the immigrants and their children.

The immigrants have learned they have a better chance of entry with offspring, so some kidnap children. The border patrol is giving DNA tests to families to make sure the children belong to the adults. Many immigrants are released into the U.S. with a promise they will attend a court hearing. Most do not show up. Congress is supposed to maintain a secure border, but some evidently prefer the cheap labor provided by the immigrants and future voters for their party.

Why should the public be satisfied when over a million immigrants per year are illegally overstaying their visas, or are illegally crossing the border? Taken together, the rapid increase in our population of largely uneducated individuals, the crime rate, which is often understated and the drugs do constitute a crisis. What is wrong with expecting people to follow the rule of law? This does not make you a racist.

Charles Boyd

Bend

Clear bike lanes

One would have to have a death wish in order to ride a bike or go for a walk in Bend in the winter.

Bike lanes have been buried in snow; sidewalks are not cleared, and intersections have big berms, impossible to get over. Never mind the iced over slush in every intersection and in roundabouts. I have no idea how people even get to bus stops! There is no access; you have to stand in the road.

Get real Bend! If you do the work and provide bike lanes off the roads and make sure sidewalks and access to bus stops are cleared, maybe more people would ride, walk or take the bus! But don’t count on it! One needs a car to live here! Check out Bear Creek Road and you’ll get it!

Hanne Madsen

Bend

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