I’m writing this in 2020, but you’ll be reading this in 2021. It kind of feels like writing a letter to the future in that regard (even though, in reality, the lag between when I write and when you read is no different than usual… at least when I’m not procrastinating). However, it is strange writing about what I’m writing about this time, because I’m writing about science and I’m writing about vaccines. If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us that science is frustrating (it actually taught us that a lot of things are frustrating, to be honest)… but science really just by its nature has to change as we learn new information about the world around us. So what I’m writing down now is really only a part of the truth. It’s the truth that we know today, as I type this. Science may discover something about COVID-19 in the next weeks and months that may make something I’m going to type incorrect. That can be confusing and frustrating. For all of us. That said, the general scientific consensus is that vaccines in general are good and that at least two of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed are safe and have been given an “emergency use authorization.” This safety has been established by the FDA and also by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup that was established by California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington given concerns about the politicization of vaccine approval at the federal level. Here is the memo the Western States Workgroup sent to the Governors of those states regarding the Pfizer vaccine; and here is the statement by those governors. There is a similar approval of the Moderna vaccine as well.

So, the vaccine: it’s approved, and people are getting it.  You may have noticed that lots of people have lots of feelings about these things. One of our strategic goals for the coming year is to promote health literacy throughout the County. As a part of this, we will be using this space to share important information to help you weather the storm that is the current pandemic and to make decisions about your own health. We have definitely been supporters of face coverings and have used this space to explain why. This post is intended to provide you with resources to find more information about vaccines to help you make the best decisions for you and your family. We are a public institution. The following information is from public health organizations at all levels of government from federal to local. I hope that by following these links you will be able allay potential concerns about vaccinations and, rest assured, that as more information becomes available (like when vaccines will be available in a broader way), it will be posted on these sites.

Medline Plus provides general information about what vaccines are, how they work, and what they do.

For Jackson County specific information, visit Jackson County Health & Human Services

For Oregon specific information, visit Oregon Health Authority.

Governor Kate Brown’s COVID-19 page has additional information for the State of Oregon.

For information at the federal level, visit the Center for Disease Control or the National Institutes of Health.

In the meantime: stay safe and be well. We are here to help you navigate further questions if you have them.