Readers React

Are sick kids enough to persuade vaccine-skeptical parents?

To the editor: Any parents not vaccinating their children should be forced to watch a video of an infant with pertussis struggling to breathe and cough. There are several on the Internet, and they are heartbreaking. ("Parents who oppose measles vaccine hold firm to their beliefs," Jan. 25)

A parent whose older healthy child may not have a bad case of pertussis could pass on the disease before symptoms appear. This could cause suffering and even death for another child, especially an infant.

Videos of children suffering from measles meningitis or dealing with the aftereffects may not be as powerful, so a parent with little empathy may not be as impressed. And reading about these children obviously has not made a difference to parents who don't vaccinate their own children.

September Bowman, Goleta, Calif.

The writer is family nurse practitioner.

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To the editor: Not until the bottom of the seventh paragraph were readers reminded that the medical and scientific communities have unequivocally discredited the link between autism and the MMR vaccine, which inoculates against measles.

Here's an idea: Rather than opening with an anecdote from a parent concerned about this specious connection, why not instead begin by interviewing a parent whose child has died or become deaf or intellectually disabled as a result of contracting measles?

With herd immunity increasingly under siege and ignorance at near-epidemic levels, it won't be too long before it's far too easy for your reporters to locate numerous families whose lives are forever altered by vaccine-preventable illness.

Melinda Blum, Los Angeles

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To the editor: It has been proved that childhood immunizations can prevent at least 14 serious diseases. It has not been proved that childhood immunizations can cause autism.

With this in mind, I ask, what kind of person opts not to have a child immunized?

Susan Stann, Temecula

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