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Can We Talk?

I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame. I hope my time’s up. It’s overrated.

On Friday, Sept 10, 2021, the News Review graciously issued an apology to me for misrepresenting my views regarding Covid vaccines and treatment as expressed on my Evergreen Family Medicine’s website blogs. Thank you. That required courage and integrity.

On Saturday, September 11, the Oregonian published an article, using the same blogs, same misrepresentation, to the same effect. I had spoken to neither reporter. The narrative and views projected were those of the writer. It’s painful being vilified for positions I do not hold and ideas I have not expressed.

Can we talk? If both reporters misunderstood my message, other readers may have as well. So, let me say this.

I endorse Covid vaccines. Please consider receiving this vaccine. They have unquestionably saved lives. They have proven highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. They are largely safe. Get the vaccine.

Perhaps the confusion is here. I have expressed reservations about mandating the vaccine to children and young healthy adults. I explain why on my blog.

I have pointed out increasing breakthrough infections are being experienced with the delta variant. I spoke to early therapeutic interventions for Covid, because prevention of disease through vaccination, and effective outpatient treatment of disease are not competing concepts. One does not exclude the other.

Or maybe the confusion is in my stance that individuals who demonstrate existence of naturally acquired immunity should not be mandated to receive vaccines. Accepting that natural disease exposure produces durable immunity does not detract from encouraging the vaccine to those who have not had the disease or are uncertain of their exposure. Or just want the vaccine anyway.

And I have advocated for informed consent and personal choice. We are told “follow the science”. You shouldn’t be surprised there can exist disagreement regarding just where the science tells us to go and what to do. And science has no inherent moral qualities. It just is. G.K. Chesterton said, “Science must not impose any philosophy, any more than the telephone must tell us what to say.”

It is in the application of science that ethics inform us. Choice and informed consent are integral to that. Informed consent is useless without choice, and choice is meaningless without information necessary to make the choice. Offering people choices implies you trust them to make the best decision for their own circumstance.

There are so many nuances in approaching Covid, either on the individual or population basis. And experts disagree. I have spoken to these on my blogs. Perhaps, too much information. But I trust people to think for themselves. Our citizens have endless avenues for information. I don’t flatter myself as to my own influence. Ultimately, most choices are wedded to trust. We all decide who we will trust.

Lastly, please know this. Some have advocated not treating unvaccinated people, ill with Covid, as it was their own poor decision to avoid the vaccine. We have seen patients delay presenting for treatment of Covid symptoms due to an expectation of being received with such disdain. At Evergreen Family Medicine Urgent Care and Mercy Medical Center that will not happen. Promise.

I ask two things of readers with whom I have credibility.

1. Please allow me the grace of going to Evergreen Family Medicine’s Website to read my own, and my brother, John’s, blogs for yourself. You will find it under Powell’s’ Covid blogs and also my CEO blog. I ask you not to accept another’s characterization of it.

2. Unless there is a compelling reason not to, get a Covid vaccine.

I hope my time’s up now. Somebody else's turn to be famous.

Tim Powell

Sept 12,2021


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