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Do vaccinations hurt?

May 03, 2008

Re "The healthy choice," editorial, April 29

The Times poses false comparisons that do a disservice to the claims of parents of vaccine-injured children.

Parents are not trying, as you suggest, to defeat the vaccine program. Their purpose is to show that their children were vaccine-injured so that they will get the care they deserve.

Declining vaccination rates, if they exist, can be attributed to a conflicted government safety program, not parents. It is too early to determine whether autism rates were affected by the thimerosal removal.

Public health authorities aggressively marketed mercury-containing flu vaccines to pregnant women and children. An excessive vaccine schedule continues unabated even as evidence mounts that vaccines cause harm.

Hannah Poling was completely healthy before her vaccine injury. Your speculation that if vaccines had not injured her something else would have is sophistic. It is time our nation owned up to defects in our vaccine program.

Robert J. Krakow

Garden City, N.Y.

As a pediatrician and the parent of a child with an autistic disorder, I applaud your editorial promoting vaccinations.

Our children benefit when life-threatening and highly contagious diseases cannot gain a foothold in Southern California.

The approved vaccines typically induce less "immune system stress" than do common childhood infections (chickenpox, influenza) that are now preventable through vaccination.

Autistic children can display great upset with routine medical visits, and are even more distressed when ill. They particularly deserve the protection of full vaccinations.

Marc Lerner

Irvine

As the parent of a child who developed seizures following her initial vaccines at the age of 2 months, I refuse to defend my position not to vaccinate her or her younger brothers.

I am not anti-vaccine but am suspicious of the industry, knowing that it is just that -- an industry. Some would say that we've replaced the hideous diseases of the past with new autoimmune disorders, and who is to say which is worse?

When your newspaper comments casually about "personal belief exemptions," you trivialize something that is far more complex than you know. "Personal belief" is an agonized decision.

I have two sons who have not been vaccinated, and I have never felt entirely comfortable with that. But I do know that if I had vaccinated them and they suffered as their sister has, I wouldn't be alive to tell it.

Elizabeth Aquino

Los Angeles

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