Readers React: Anti-vaxxers probably haven’t seen an iron lung. They have vaccines to thank for that

In the emergency polio ward at Haynes Memorial Hospital in Boston in 1955, patients are seen in iron-lung respirators.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: As a 74-yrear-old woman, I remember not only being given sugar cubes infused with the polio vaccine in the early 1960s, but also people — mostly children — in iron lung machines, which we do not see anymore. These alien-looking devices with giant bellows enabled people to inhale and exhale because the polio virus, which attacks the nervous system, had rendered the muscles that allow us to breath paralyzed. (“Bill would strengthen vaccination laws, checking up on doctors who write exemptions,” March 26)

Being a child in that time, I remember my parents following millions of others to vaccinate their children against many potentially deadly diseases.

I am appalled at the number of young parents who now think they are doing the right thing by not inoculating their children. Some cite concerns over autism, which scientists have shown is not caused by childhood vaccination.

I have to wonder if these parents have ever seen an iron lung or done any real research that shows the horrors experienced before we had access to vaccines.


Thea Bernstein, Studio City

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