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We must find common ground and set aside partisanship if we are going to beat COVID-19.

Science is knowledge with testable explanations, political tribalism is not. Political tribalism is eclipsing trust in science and extending the pandemic.

COVID-19 infections are rising in 46 states, the crossover between the vaccination rate map and electoral college map is stark.

As a Republican, I understand many of the arguments and concerns being voiced by the vaccine hesitant. I, too, often find myself at odds with Gov. Kate Brown, and many Democrat policies. However, public health is an issue that goes beyond politics. This virus does not discriminate between political parties.

St. Charles and hospitals around the country are almost exclusively seeing patients that have not been fully vaccinated. Vaccines are proven and extremely effective at protecting us from the COVID-19 virus.

Receiving a vaccine to stop the spread of disease and supporting public health is not a new ask. Many generations before us have done their part to eliminate diseases from our communities, businesses and schools; Smallpox, Polio, Rubella, Diphtheria, Mumps.

It’s now our turn, to do our part, as past generations have done, and get vaccinated to eliminate COVID-19 to keep our children in school, our businesses open and our communities healthy.

I would encourage Republicans to trust science over self-interested politicians, Democrats to shelve policies that could threaten medical innovation by companies that are helping us out of this pandemic, and all Americans, to put our country first by getting vaccinated.

— Cheri Helt, Bend

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