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Shawnee doctors join together, make plea for COVID-19 vaccines

The Shawnee News-Star

Dear patient,

We, the Physicians and Advanced Practicing Providers of Shawnee, Tecumseh, Seminole, Okemah, Chandler and McLoud, ask you to clear your minds and open your hearts.  We ask you to hear us, now.  We do our best to keep you healthy and take care of you as individuals.  However, there are times when we are faced with a medical challenge that goes beyond our ability to treat an individual patient.  There are times when the choices you make as individuals impact not only your health, but the health and lives of every person you see and touch.  The SARS-CoV-2 virus with all of its variants is one of those challenges, and this is one of those times. 

Each person in this community is depending completely on every other person in this community to rise up and protect themselves and protect each other from this virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.  A COVID-19 illness for many is a miserable week of fever, cough, congestion, nausea, body aches, chills, headaches and fatigue, sometimes with a side of nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea.  For far too many others, that week leads to more serious symptoms, hospitalizations, and even death.  The vast majority of people will survive the illness and get back to “normal life.”  For far too many people, the after effects of COVID-19 will be life changing.

For each individual who gets COVID-19, they act as a host to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  They have provided it a home to replicate and mutate into new variants.  They have acted as an unwitting transportation vehicle to spread the virus to others.  (The virus begins its period of highest transmission 12 hours before an individual gets their first symptom!)  The cycle then repeats itself.  This is happening hundreds of times a day in our community right now.  We have seen this show before.  It ends with our hospital filled with COVID-19 patients with no room to treat all of the other medical needs of our community. YOU CAN STOP IT.  YOU CAN TAKE A STAND.  YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR NEIGHBORS.  The Oklahoma Standard is being called on once again.  It is time to unite, stand together, and overcome the obstacles in our path. It is time to get a vaccine.

The signatories to this letter represent a broad range of political ideas.  We cheer for different sports teams.  We go to different churches.  We come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  Some of us were born in Oklahoma, and some of us chose to move here.  We all agree on this:  The science behind the COVID-19 vaccines is sound and trustworthy.  It is a modern day medical miracle.  The COVID-19 vaccines SAVE LIVES and PREVENT life changing complications. 

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on everyone’s life.  The impact has been so enormous that it is impossible to even list the direct and indirect ways it has altered everyone’s life.  You know this.  If we want to take control of our lives, we have to stop it.  As long as the virus has hosts (people without antibodies), it will continue to spread and continue to have mutations that creates new variants.  Some of these variants may be even worse.  The time is now.  YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  YOU CAN GET VACCINATED. WE CAN STOP THIS TOGETHER. 

There are vaccines readily available of various brands and types.  You can contact your primary care provider, your local pharmacy, your local county health department, or visit https://www.ssmhealth.com/access/covid19-vaccine-scheduling or call the SSM Health vaccination clinic at 405-273-5801 to make an appointment.

Gregory Grant, MD, FAAFP,  Family Medicine

Bansal Shivendra, MD, Family Medicine

Braden Parmer, MD, Family Medicine

Kelly Lucas, APRN, Family Medicine

Brandi Strayhorn, PA-C, Family Medicine

Jake Borgsmiller, DO, Family Medicine

Mickey Borgsmiller, DO, Family Medicine

Mitchell Wolf, MD, Family Medicine

Chris Carpenter, APRN, Family Medicine

Kacie Cassaday, DO, Family Medicine

Ajay Varughese, MD, Family Medicine

Kim Hanigar, MD, Family Medicine

Roselyn Dean, MD, Family Medicine

Wendell Richards, MD, Family Medicine

Tony Haddad, MD, Pulmonology

Mark Davis, PA, Pulmonology

Venkata Damera, MD, Nephrology

Kelli Koons, MD, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics

Jeremy Holter, MD, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics

Michael Butcher, MD, Internal Medicine

David Holland, MD, Internal Medicine

Nicki Sherman, ARNP, Internal Medicine

Sudhir Gupta, MD, Cardiology

Troy Norred, MD, Cardiology

Christine DiEnna, DO

Dirk Engles, MD, Urology

Thomas Dye, MD, Orthopedics

Laynie Shebester, PA-C, Orthopedics

Glen Hanson, MD, Surgery

Ian Cassady, DO, Surgery

Michael Wiens, MD, Surgery

Jennifer Wentzel, MD, Surgery

Karen Rose, MD, Pediatrics

Lori Crow, MD Pediatrics

Alysia Mendoza, MD, Pediatrics

Gaynell Anderson, MD, Hospitalist

David Hadley, MD, Hospitalist

Kenneth Darvin, MD, Hospitalist

Traci Carter, PA, Hospitalist

Jolene Rychik, NP, Hospitalist

Lara Mashek, MD, Hospitalist

Adam Hogue, PA-C, Express Care

Doug Nation, PA-C, Express Care

Karyn Taylor, APRN, Express Care

Filimon Aguilar, CNP, Express Care

Paul Jennings, MD, Women’s Health

Elise Slaybaugh, MD, Women’s Health

Alex Avila, MD, Women’s Health

Darin Sparkman, MD, Women’s Health

Jessica Strong, APRN, Women’s Health

Shannon Plumb, PA-C, Women’s Health