A conversation with Bill Deiz: Three cheers for the vaccine

Longtime Portlander Bill Deiz shared his thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine and the impact of the pandemic with Coronavirus Update (CVU). Deiz, well-known for his career in local TV and radio, is active in Oregon’s community, most recently as a former chair of the Oregon Commission on Voluntary Action and Service and as a member of the Rotary Club of Portland.

CVU: Any thoughts on how COVID-19 has impacted communities that you’re a part of?
Deiz: I realize that COVID-19 has adversely impacted Communities of Color throughout our nation. I have been fortunate that my wife and I are retired and that we remodeled our home in the past few years so that we can age in place. We have all taken this crisis seriously and wear masks when out and about and limit our trips to the store and physically distance at all times, including with family members who do not live with us.

CVU: What was your reaction to hearing the news that there is a vaccine for COVID-19? 
Deiz: Three cheers! I am 77 years old and my wife is in her late 60s, so we are vulnerable to COVID-19 because of our ages. I also have underlying medical conditions.  

CVU: Do you plan on getting a vaccine to prevent COVID-19? 
Deiz: Yes. I hope to get the first dose as early as January or February, but we will see. 

CVU: Do you have any advice for people in Oregon right now? 
Deiz: I was a child of the polio epidemic. My next-door neighbor was among the last children infected with polio as the then-new polio vaccines were being given to children. I remember, clearly, the concern of the medical professionals who wanted to make sure every child got the vaccine. We eagerly took the vaccine as children, and it literally saved many of our lives. My neighbor grew up embittered by the experience of being one of the last kids to contract polio. I am a member of the Rotary Club of Portland and one of the Rotarians I know was one of the last kids to get wild polio before the vaccines. He said there were three strains of wild polio at the time and even though he had caught one strain, he still received vaccinations to protect him from the other two strains and was grateful.

CVU: We’d love to hear how you plan to celebrate your holidays safely this year. 
Deiz: We have been living in a bubble since the onslaught of this pandemic. For the first time, we celebrated Thanksgiving via Zoom with our two sons – one in Washington, D.C., and the other who lives here in Portland. My wife and I also took our turkey dinner to our Portland son and gave it to him to eat at his home. We had no in-person family gathering. We plan to do the same at Christmas.  We need to trust the science to help us save lives with the COVID-19 vaccine. 

This interview, which has been edited and condensed, first appeared in the Dec. 17, 2020 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.