Credit: George Danby / BDN

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Getting vaccinated

Getting vaccinated is the most important thing people can do to help protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines were made to save lives. They are safe and effective, and they help people’s bodies develop immunity to the virus. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines cannot give someone COVID-19 because they do not contain the live virus that causes the illness.

The vaccines prevent nearly 100 percent of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19, and now,  everyone age 12 and older in the U.S. is eligible to be vaccinated for free, regardless of citizenship status. In fact,  over 170 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the vaccine to date.

To find a vaccination provider nearby, people can go to vaccines.gov, text their ZIP code to 438829 on their mobile device, or call 1-800-232-0233.

If someone has been vaccinated, they should encourage others to do so. They can learn about how to talk to their friends and family about getting vaccinated at wecandothis.hhs.gov.

Every person who chooses to get vaccinated brings us a step closer to moving past the pandemic.

Jeffrey Beard

Regional Administrator

Health Resources and Services Administration

Office of Regional Operations- Region 1

Boston

Collins’ PFAS action

Over the last few years, we’ve heard a lot about how toxic forever chemicals, called PFAS for short, are destroying farm soils and water sources, and about how they are present in common food items such as milk and dairy products. These chemicals are of grave concern because, as the nickname indicates, they are persistent and once they make it into our bloodstreams, they accumulate.

Exposure to PFAS is shown to cause various serious health issues including cancers, weakened immune systems, thyroid disease, liver damage, fertility issues and hormone disruption. That’s why Sen. Susan Collins has taken a recent study, which shows that these chemicals are a common ingredient in cosmetic products, very seriously.

Recently, Collins introduced the bipartisan No PFAS in Cosmetics Act to ban the intentional addition of these toxic chemicals in cosmetics. This bill should absolutely pass with flying colors. There is no reason for products intended to be applied to our skin, face and hair to include toxic chemicals with known serious health risks.

Marilyn Bernardini

Calais

Gun safety and storage

I support the concept discussed in the BDN (“Janet Mills and Jared Golden’s safe-storage push shows middle ground approach on guns” from June 25) regarding grants for distribution of firearm-locking materials and educational material on gun safety. Education around the issue of safe firearm storage is sorely needed in our state, as the recent spate of incidents involving children and firearms proves. Also needed are clarity and accountability in our laws, such as what is spelled out in LD 759, An Act to Amend the Child Endangerment Laws to Include Certain Unauthorized Access to a Loaded Firearm, which I sponsored.

At that bill’s public hearing, testimonies from gun owners, educators, physicians, and law enforcement reinforced the need for a safe storage law in Maine, such as what is found on the books in  27   other state s. Testimony from one mother, whose child went to play at a friend’s house and was killed when the two accessed an unsecured firearm, was particularly powerful.

This scenario is a legitimate fear of Maine parents, one that I have heard from my constituents, and is what started me on my journey to pass a safe storage law in our state. Safe storage saves lives, and LD 759 would make clear that unsecured, loaded firearms pose a real danger to children under 16. Combined with education around this issue and incentives for safe storage devices, LD 759 can make Maine children safer and quell every parent’s worst nightmare.

Rep. Vicki Doudera

Camden