Doctor: Get vaccinated

Idaho is enacting crisis standards of care due to the COVID-19 pandemic.That means there are so many people hospitalized using up resources and beds at a rate that may outpace what is available for those in need. Thus, rationing may have to occur.

I am a doctor who has been working in intensive care units since the beginning of the pandemic, and I write this letter because I grew up in Idaho – Moscow, actually.

I spent most of my life surrounded by wonderful people, and I am writing to you. Idaho currently has a vaccination rate less than 50 percent. This situation in Idaho was/is preventable with vaccination. The vaccines are safe and effective. For those that say you can get sick even if vaccinated, that is true, but your chances of severe infection or death are significantly lower with vaccination. The vast majority of hospitalized patients (approximately 90 percent in Idaho now) with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Now those individuals are taking resources and beds that have led to a need for possible rationing. Nursing ratios in the Kootenai Health ICUs, for example, are roughly 6:1 — that is completely unsafe.

If you know anyone in your family or network who is unvaccinated, or if you are unvaccinated, I beg of you, please, as a healthcare worker who just pronounced another unvaccinated person with COVID-19 dead, get vaccinated. This can be stopped. This should hopefully be less about protecting yourself (although it does) and more about protecting others. Our individual decisions have community, state and inter-state impacts.

In Seattle, we are getting calls for transfers from Idaho hospitals because they do not have capacity and/or resources for the number of patients they are treating. Thank you for taking the time to read and please get vaccinated.

Omar Bayomy

Seattle

High school boys

When I was in high school, boys who were not old enough to be allowed to vote could be drafted and sent into combat in the jungles of southeast Asia. How far have we fallen as a culture that we now think that asking a young person to wear a mask to protect their neighbor is too much of a violation of their freedom?

Stephen Dodgen

Pullman