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Opinion

Readers React: Pediatricians who hand out numerous vaccination exemptions practice fake medicine

LOS ANGELES-CA-AUGUST 7, 2017: Gilbert Acosta Jr., 12, is vaccinated by Medical Technician Ricardo
A 12-year-old child receives a vaccination at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in 2017.
(David McNew / For The Times)

To the editor: I have had several patients over the years who have turned to pediatricians advertising themselves as anti-vaccination doctors. When I have had the chance later to ask about their experiences, the parents told me the pediatricians were more than willing to accede to the family’s wishes.

This has become something of a lucrative niche. One family who found a Santa Monica physician told me the office visit was $500. The mother was happy to find this doctor, whereas the father who spoke to me expressed his concern that they were being taken advantage of.

Honest and competent physicians are appalled at this. Science is based on fact. These “doctors” invent fake science much like Andrew Wakefield, the English physician who promulgated this horrible disservice to the gullible public.

Peter Ambrose, MD, Claremont

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To the editor: Physicians like Orange County pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears are violating the Hippocratic Oath’s injunction to, first, do no harm. Not vaccinating a child can potentially harm the child if he or she were to contract any of the various diseases that vaccines prevent, as well as other children who may not be vaccinated for valid medical reasons.

The irrational anti-vaccine movement can be traced in part to the fraudulent Lancet study by Andrew Wakefield that was later retracted. He was subsequently kicked off the British medical register for unethical behavior.

The state has an interest in protecting all children, including those who are medically vulnerable and too young to be vaccinated. But because parents are finding unscrupulous physicians to get around the state ban on personal-belief vaccine exemptions, we need an even tougher law.

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The Medical Board of California also needs to hand down harsh penalties for physicians who violate the law and their ethical responsibilities.

Henry D. Schlinger Jr., Glendale

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To the editor: I have two questions regarding medical exemptions for vaccinations.

First, do the irresponsible, science-illiterate parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated have any clue about how awful (and potentially fatal) whooping cough, measles and chickenpox are?

Second, why are the “doctors” who write the exemptions, knowing full well that they are not medically justified, still in possession of their licenses?

Jerry Lasnik, Thousand Oaks

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