To the editor: Any scheme that allows religion-based exemptions to state-mandated vaccinations of children will doom many public schools to low immunity levels that risk disease outbreaks like the measles scare that originated at Disneyland last year. ("California's measles outbreak is over, but vaccine fight continues," April 17)
The exemption prerequisite that some tout — requiring parents to submit an annual letter explaining religious principles that guide their objections to vaccination — will do naught to stop some parents. If hundreds of them could stage a demonstration that moved some Sacramento legislators to uphold religious exemptions, they can surely contrive and share a form letter for parents to use to pass annual muster.
It's time our state legislators ended the faith-based madness. Parents intent on subordinating the science of immunization to quirky religious beliefs will find a way to educate their children outside public schools.
Devra Mindell, Santa Monica
To the editor: Amid hysterics on all sides about the MMR vaccine and the measles outbreak at Disneyland, no one is thinking ahead to future outbreaks of the "R" part of the MMR — rubella.
Rubella is a relatively mild disease when you have it as a kid. I can barely remember it, as I contracted it the same spring that I had the measles, which was a brutal experience, with high fever and a very itchy rash.
The problem with rubella comes when you are pregnant. Rubella in pregnancy is devastating to the fetus, causing deafness, blindness, heart malformations, mental retardation, enlarged liver and spleen and more. Yet no one is talking about what happens in 15 years or so when all of these unvaccinated little girls get to childbearing age and the next outbreak of a totally preventable disease occurs, only this time it's rubella.
The results could be devastating, and it will all be grandma's and grandpa's fault.
Jane Moment Jordan, Oak Park
To the editor: The vaccination deniers have managed to scare off Sacramento from putting in place rules to prevent another measles outbreak. I guess it's going to be up to Disneyland and all other public venues to fill the void and keep patrons from getting sick.
I think a large, neon billboard at the entry gates stating that all patrons must show proof of immunization for entry to the park would suffice. This may sound harsh, but the state seems not to have any way to enforce immunizations for the general population.
I think a couple of class-action lawsuits naming Disneyland and the state of California for not protecting the general public from these diseases would work. If Disneyland starts losing money and the state starts losing tax revenue, maybe things will change.
David Behunin, San Diego