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Anti-vaxxers who intimidate physicians into silence pose a threat to public health

Anti-vaxxers who intimidate physicians into silence pose a threat to public health
Doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are seen at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., on March 27. (Seth Wenig / AP)

To the editor: It is shocking to read about the anti-vaccine movement’s online attacks against physicians who encourage immunization. Their abuse is destructive to the health of our society.

It cannot be overemphasized enough that vaccines save lives and are overwhelmingly safe. They slow down or halt the spread of communicable diseases, thus preventing serious, life-threatening or patient-maiming outbreaks. Think of the effects from the polio virus that were commonplace before the Salk vaccine, including children who went on to spend the rest of their lives in an iron lung.

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Parents who choose not to vaccinate not only risk the health of their children, but they also selfishly risk preventing the eradication of particular diseases, as we have seen most recently in the case of measles, which can have devastating consequences.

What is also alarming is the fact that some physicians grant vaccination exemptions because of pressure from parents. The attacks on members of the medical community who promote immunization is an abomination that must not only be rebutted, but stopped altogether.

Richard Z. Fond, Sherman Oaks

The writer is a retired pharmacist who holds a doctorate in pharmacy.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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