Letters to the Editor: What if anti-vaxxers had been around after Pearl Harbor?

Anti-vaccination protesters hold signs during a rally in Santa Monica on Aug. 29.
(Ringo Chiu / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Imagine what would have happened if, after the Japanese military had destroyed much of Pearl Harbor in 1941, instead of volunteering to sign up to serve in a conflict of unknown length and danger, good people of this country hesitated. (“Not all the unvaccinated are diehards, but the ‘wait and see’ crowd is shrinking,” Nov. 3)

Their objections: I don’t know what weapons we are using. Are those weapons safe? Will I get hurt? Will I die? I don’t trust the government. I don’t trust my leaders. Don’t sign me up. I am not sure.

Do you think the youth of 1941 had trepidations about going to war? Of course they did. But we were attacked, and we needed all hands on deck.


Today, the coronavirus is our common enemy. Are the vaccines proven safe and effective? Yes, but only time will tell if they are mostly harmless forever. Do we have that time? Not really. Each day we dawdle, the virus has more chances to mutate and possibly strengthen.

In 1941, we did not have time to ruminate and agonize about going to war. If we took the time to figure everything out and assure ourselves 100% of the outcome, we would have been wiped out. Today, we face a similar threat, so it’s time to get vaccinated.

Andrew Tilles, Studio City


To the editor: In your article on the remaining vaccine holdouts, one person is asking for a religious exemption because he regards getting a shot as the equivalent of asking an orthodox Jew to eat non-kosher food.

I don’t eat pork or shellfish because they are explicitly forbidden in the Torah. I don’t eat cheeseburgers because Jewish religious law extending back almost 2,000 years forbids mixing milk and meat.

The nurse asking for the exemption may have strong personal reasons for not wanting a vaccine, but they are in no way analogous to the reasons why a Jew observes kashrut.


Jo Pitesky, Studio City


To the editor: In her Q&A on vaccinating children ages 5-11, reporter Melissa Healy cites “some parents” and “not all experts.”

For goodness’ sake, in an important matter of public health, we need to hear from actual experts. In this whole explainer, Healy does not quote a single person. Not one doctor. Not one epidemiologist. No one from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The holidays are coming up. Kids need to be vaccinated so they don’t carry COVID-19 to their families. Please, L.A. Times, get back to the world of citations and experts.

Katherine Gould, Glendale