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OpEd - What the Arrival of the COVID-19 Vaccine Means for Southwestern Montana


ButteNews.net
Jan 4, 2021

Dr. Jennifer Davenport

The arrival of the first supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to St. James Healthcare has

signaled a turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic. It truly is a breath of fresh air and has

certainly given everyone here an extra boost of confidence in our ability to provide care to

southwestern Montana.

Ultimately, our goal will be to vaccinate as many of our healthcare workers as possible. Our

initial efforts, as directed by state and federal authorities, will primarily focus on vaccinating our

frontline staff to ensure St. James Healthcare can continue to serve and provide care to our

patients and community.

While vaccination is voluntary at this time, as healthcare providers, we have a greater role and

responsibility to ensure we are doing everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. We

have strongly encouraged our associates to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved

ones and our community. This will be our same message to the public as the vaccine becomes

more readily available.

Vaccine safety and effectiveness is top of mind for all of us right now. As medical professionals,

we are confident in the science and technology behind these vaccines and believe they are a

turning point in our fight against COVID-19. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have

been rigorously tested prior to becoming available to the public. Both Pfizer and Moderna have

indicated that their COVID-19 vaccines are 94-95% effective based on Phase 3 clinical trials.

This means that the vaccines really work to prevent people from becoming ill with COVID-19.

That level of efficacy is encouraging.

As is often the case with vaccines, some people have experienced minor side effects after

receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, such as a mild fever or soreness at the injection site.

Fortunately, severe reactions, like anaphylaxis, are extremely rare. If you have any questions or

concerns please speak to your primary care provider.

Overall, we believe these vaccines are very safe and effective, especially when we consider the

serious risks, long-term health implications, and deadliness of the COVID-19 infection.

We are excited about the prospects this vaccine holds for our associates, our patients, and our

communities. As more vaccines become available in Montana, it is our recommendation that as

many people as possible get vaccinated so we can end this pandemic.

While we believe there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel, we must continue to be diligent

in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our ask of our associates,

patients and communities remains the same: Please do your part to help slow the spread of

COVID-19. Stay at home, wear a mask, limit your gatherings, wash your hands frequently,

practice social distancing and help us protect the vulnerable.

Right to vote vital gift

July 21, 2020
 
Dear Editor,
The words, “I have the right to/not to (fill in the blank),” are being heard around
the United States a lot these days. It’s true. We Americans have a multitude of
rights as compared to billions around the world.
Having been out of school for quite some time (and not being a history buff), I
decided to review some basic rights that we do have here, especially those that
were unique to a democratic nation just feeling its way to a new path to being in a
land far from its original roots.
One vital “gift” we citizens (age 18 and above) possess is that we each are granted
the privilege of the right to vote. The trouble with rights is that sometimes we
aren’t sure we really want them; maybe we don’t feel we know enough to make
informed decisions or perhaps it’s just easier to let others carry that load. I’ve felt
ill-prepared, left some lines or boxes blank and have missed some local elections,
and, well, failed to do my part.
Finally, I now recognize that my right to vote is a hard-fought privilege, which
many individuals shed tears and blood to attain. Just recently, our country has
been saying “goodbye” to a courageous man, Representative John Lewis, whose
life has been one of placing himself on a dangerous road to ensuring the right to
vote for all Americans. Representative Lewis wanted so much to be part of the
American experience that he was willing to die for the right to vote and
participate as a member of the American citizenry.
I encourage you, whether young adults or those in middle to late years, to watch
news online, listen to news reports, and consider thoughtfully when reading the
paper.
Please join me in voting for the persons, beliefs and causes that you personally
endorse. America is only America when we follow the footsteps and mentoring of
our wise founders.
Elaine Hundley
Ennis, MT

Teacher supports Romano


Hello. I am Elizabeth McCambridge,
 
I was a Public School Teacher for 35 years in Minnesota. Retired, my husband and I have lived in Montana for 6 months a year for the last eleven years. I am supporting Melissa Romano for Superintendent of Montana’s Office of Public Instruction because I believe she is the BEST candidate who will protect and promote quality public education for all students. With emphasis on “all,” she is a strong advocate for early education. Research shows that when we invest in our early learners with Public Pre-School, those students do much better in elementary and high school. The end result is a strong economy. 
 
Romano was an educator for 15 years and she served a three year term on the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics where she served as President. Romano has many qualifications including being a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s “Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), and the 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year. She will diligently advocate for students, teachers, administrators and for adequate funding of Montana’s Public Schools at the Montana Legislature.
 
Romano is endorsed by the Montana Sportsmen Alliance  and the Montana Conservation Voters and other important organizations.  As a member of the Land Board, she will fight to protect YOUR rights to hunt, fish, and recreate on Montana’s public lands and waters.
 
Please vote for the BEST candidate for Superintendent of Montana’s Office of Public Instruction. I strongly urge you to vote for Melissa Romano.
 
Thank you.
 
 
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