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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 13, 2015 at 11:55 AM

Vaccinations: The few are endangering the many

I’m horrified by the current trend of parents who refuse (on dubious grounds) to vaccinate their children against dangerous and preventable infectious diseases [“Vaccine experts: It’s time to ‘nudge’ hesitant parents,” Local News, Feb. 7].

Growing up in the1940s and ’50s, I saw friends crippled from polio and I was confined to home during the summer so I wouldn’t catch it (no movies, no swimming and no fun). The advent of the polio vaccine was a phenomenal achievement and was heralded for the life-changing accomplishment it was. So, too, the measles vaccine.

When I had measles as a child, I was required to stay home and a quarantine sign was posted on the door. The public-health doctors required these measures to contain an epidemic and protect the very young, the elderly and, especially, pregnant women whose unborn babies were at great risk.

Will polio, measles, mumps and other eradicated dangerous diseases make a comeback and endanger the whole population because a few ignorant and misinformed people refuse to have their own children vaccinated? What’s the reasoning here? Surely it can’t be the solidly disproved notion that vaccines cause autism.

That a few paranoid individuals can endanger so many seems outrageous to me. If there had been a vaccine for the plague, would a few objectors have caused the certain death of millions? If there can be rules to protect our health (no cigarettes or alcohol sold to minors, requisite wearing of seat belts, no produce brought into the country), why can’t there be a law requiring all children (except the ones legitimately and medically exempt) to be immunized?

Nancy Pennington, Seattle

Comments | More in Health | Topics: disease, health, measles

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