Readers React: Not unlike measles, California vaccination debate rages on

Karman Willmer, Shelby Messenger

Karman Willmer, left, and Shelby Messenger rally against SB 277, a California measure requiring schoolchildren to get vaccinated, outside the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.

(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: I commend the Legislature for passing and the governor for signing the bill requiring “children entering school or day care to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, whooping cough and other diseases. (“Law’s foes refuse to quit,” July 4) Parents will no longer be able to cite religious or personal beliefs in seeking exemptions.”I am 88 years old, and I still mourn the loss of my 22-month-old son who died in 1955 due to influenza meningitis. At that time, there was not a vaccine. He got sick at noon on Sunday and was dead on Monday afternoon.

We no longer need fear that disease or so many other highly communicative and crippling diseases, thanks to modern preventive medicine.
Barbara Samuels, Woodland Hills


To the editor: My car runs smoothly at 60 mph. If I want to, why can’t I drive it around and around an elementary school? It’s my car and this is a free country. The government should not regulate me. I’m free!


Oh, wait. This freedom might endanger others, so it should be restricted, that we all can live.

Isn’t this just like vaccination? If we, who can be, are all vaccinated, then those too young to be vaccinated won’t suffer the sometimes deadly effects of certain diseases.

David S. Ure, Altadena



To the editor: Regarding the photo of the mom entitled “My child, my choice,” I completely agree that the parent has the right to decide whether her child gets vaccinated— but this mom is missing a key point.

The other students at the school who may be jeopardized are not her children and she has no right to decide whether or not those children are exposed to communicable diseases.

She can exercise her right regarding her own child and home school him.

Mike Liewald, Los Alamitos


To the editor: It is preposterous to require vaccinations on all children attending school.

This is disturbing for parents who have religious beliefs against vaccinations, and it is also restricting the freedom of Americans by taking away a choice.

This can make the parents feel as if they are not well educated enough to make such decisions. By allowing excess government intervention, “we the people” will have less freedom of choice.


Although Gov. Jerry Brown’s statement, “The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” is true, it should not be his or the other legislators’ right to enforce such a law.

Samuel Martinez, Bell


To the editor: In the vaccine debate, there are two indisputable facts that tend to get lost in the noise:

Vaccines, while generally safe, are not absolutely safe. And vaccines, while generally effective, are not absolutely effective.

These two facts, taken individually, should have been sufficient to merit a veto of the bill. However, when combined, they effectively dismantle any rationale behind the legislation.

If vaccines have the potential (albeit rare) to cause severe adverse reactions, and they do not result in protection 100% of the time, how can the state, in good conscience, mandate vaccination in order for children to receive a public education?

Jeffrey Wallace, Murrieta



To the editor: I was born in the 1950s and have vivid memories of neighbors and a dear friend contracting polio. My father, in his 40s, caught the mumps from me, and I never saw him sicker.

I simply want to ask these well-meaning but misguided parents if they can say the same thing.

Polio, mumps and measles kill. The science is in, and vaccines are safe.

If these parents who are protesting a public health law are concerned about profit motive (as many say they are), maybe their efforts would be put to better use in helping change the healthcare system in the United States, which is badly in need of positive reform.

Dean Okrand, Sherman Oaks


To the editor: How predictable. Former GOP Assemblyman Tim Donnelly views the newly enacted mandatory vaccination law — which bans faith-based exemptions — as a “violation of religious liberty.” (“A push for referendum on vaccines,” July 4)

My humble suggestion for a title that sums up Donnelly’s ill-conceived endeavor: “Referendum to Restore Faith-Based Rights to Jeopardize Public Health.”

Dennis Alston, Atwater

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