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Opinion

Readers React: Help a cancer patient — reject anti-vaccine nonsense

Karman Willmer, Shelby Messenger
Protesters rally against SB 277, a measure requiring schoolchildren to get vaccinated, in Sacramento on June 25, 2015.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: Once again, physician and state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) is leading the fight to protect people from their worst instincts on vaccines. (“Are anti-vaccine parents risking the health of their unborn grandchildren?” column, May 10)

In 2015, when Pan was pushing a bill to eliminate nonmedical exemptions for vaccinations among public school kids, I told him in a letter that my husband suffered from blood cancer and because he was on drugs that suppressed his immune system, he was susceptible to any and all illnesses. It was very scary to see so many people reject vaccinations.

Later that year, my husband died. Now, it is scary to see this backlash happening again as Pan tries once more to address the way exemptions are granted.

As to the supposed infringement on parents’ liberties, what about my right to a life from preventable diseases? Remember polio? That seems to be forgotten.

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Anti-vaccination parents are not evil people. I think they are misinformed, and I suspect some have been too vocal about this for too long to be able to back down, but that’s not a good enough excuse to put vulnerable children and adults at unnecessary risk.

Stephanie Strout, Pasadena

..

To the editor: Those who oppose efforts to expand vaccination may not only distrust authority; it’s also likely they have not done any genealogy research either, as I did into my dad’s immigrant family.

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I was stunned reading through the “sterberegister” (death registry) from the late 1800s. There were so many infants and young children listed, many with the notation, “Ges. an masern.

Translation: Died of measles.

Bob Wieting, Simi Valley

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To the editor: My nephew was born in the 1960s to my sister and brother-in-law before a vaccine against rubella existed. My sister-in-law, a teacher, contracted rubella in her first trimester.

Her son was born with many of the problems commonly found among children born to a parent with rubella. In spite of the care he received, he died at age 5.

My children were born healthy in this same era. I was somewhat sure that I had had a mild case of rubella as a child and might be immune. Even so, I told my doctor about my nephew and asked for the then newly available rubella immunization. He was extremely reluctant to grant my request since I was of child-bearing age and only complied on the condition that I take birth control pills for six months after the vaccination. I agreed.

I wouldn’t wish our family’s tragedy on anyone.

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Karen Scott Browdy, Fillmore

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