Letters to the Editor: Take a page from the anti-tobacco playbook to fight anti-vaxxers

People cheer during a Defeat the Mandates Rally in Washington on Jan. 23.
People cheer during a Defeat the Mandates Rally in Washington on Jan. 23.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Microbiology and immunology professor John P. Moore penned an excellent piece about the dangers of the anti-vaccine movement. We need to hear and see more such commentary.

The core of what Moore said is that in this day and age, shock convinces people. It’s unfortunate but true, as proved by anti-tobacco ads that clearly had an impact on consumption of that deadly product.

So let’s use that playbook to try to marginalize crazed anti-vaxxers, whose loud conspiracy theorizing is undermining our nation’s health. Shock value is priceless, like it or not, and it has been true since long before the internet.


Moore made a lot of other excellent points and suggestions. But time is not on the side of sanity here, so let’s get going at least with shock and awe on television and the internet.

The government needs to get fast and tamp down the craziness, even if it calls for some craziness of its own (shock, in other words) for the sake of public health.

Loren Mark, Eagle Rock


To the editor: Part of the problem with government mandates is that they are trying to control behavior, which is difficult, but they don’t control the message, which they should. So, you can mandate the vaccine, but any crackpot can turn around and say that it doesn’t work or that it kills more people than the virus.

Purveyors of such nonsense should be taken to court and forced to either back up their claims scientifically or shut up. Freedom of speech, as a Supreme Court justice famously said, does not allow one to scream “fire” in a crowded theater if there is no fire, because doing so would endanger lives.

Probably thousands of people have lost their lives because they have believed the misinformation that they have picked up from pseudo-experts on TV or on the web. It’s time to stop that.


Jean Lecuyer, Los Angeles