Oregon doctors to unvaccinated: 'We cannot keep fighting ... without your help'

A group of Oregon-based medical professionals is calling on all community members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the number of infections continues to rise nationwide, contending that doctors “cannot keep fighting this fight without your help.”

“This is not only about you and your healthy immune system. It is about the greater good of the community,” the group added.

Eugene Emergency Physicians, made up of 50 emergency medicine physicians and physician assistants, penned a letter to Oregon community members pleading with unvaccinated individuals to get their shots, citing data showing that the vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are not inoculated.

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“We know that many of you will read this letter and have information from various sources that you feel supports the choice not to vaccinate yourself or your family. We urge you to take a moment and consider the impacts of your decisions on the greater community,” the medical professionals wrote.

“These vaccines are safe and effective,” they added.

According to the doctors, as of Wednesday more than 96 percent of the 1,037 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at PeaceHealth Oregon medical centers were not vaccinated.

The jarring numbers come amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases largely driven by the spread of the highly infectious delta variant, which has taken hold in the U.S. as the dominant strain.

The medical professionals noted that while it is possible for vaccinated individuals to contract COVID-19, infections that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled as "breakthrough cases," “it is clear that the chances of hospitalization or death are exponentially lower” for those who have been vaccinated.

The letter was written days before the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, a highly anticipated move that many hope will lead to an increase in inoculations nationwide.

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The Pfizer vaccine is the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive full approval.

The medical professionals painted a picture of what appears to be a strained hospital system amid the spike in COVID-19 cases, writing that they are “rapidly losing the ability to care for all of the community’s needs.”

“We are running out of hospital beds in our state. We may soon be unable to adequately care for patients needing surgery for other ailments or treat medical conditions unrelated to COVID-19,” they added.

They also outlined the dire impact the virus has on those who test positive, writing, “It is NOT a bad cold. It is NOT a bad flu. It hurts. It keeps people awake at night because of pain.”

“You may be very healthy and have a strong immune system. You may feel you will be safe. We have cared for and admitted many patients who have had this very thought,” the medical professionals wrote.

“Yes, some people are lucky and have a milder case, but is this a risk you really want to take for you or your parents or children? We urge you to consider your circle of family and friends,” they added.

The letter also touched on the importance of wearing masks as a way to curb the spread of the virus during the current spike, writing, “We cannot defeat this disease without increasing vaccination numbers, and we cannot control the spread without masks.”

“Vaccines and masks work. If you want your children to return to school in person, please vaccinate. If you want your children not to be masked in school, please vaccinate. If you want to go to the store unmasked, please vaccinate,” it added.