Re "Schools' risks rise as vaccine rates decline," March 29
The Times' article stated that "the rise in unvaccinated children appears to be driven by affluent parents choosing not to immunize. Many do so because they fear the shots could trigger autism, a concern widely discredited in medical research."
Over the last 20 years, the court set up by the pharmaceutical companies and supported by Congress to hear vaccine injury claims has dispensed close to $2 billion in compensation to families whose children were injured or killed by a vaccine.
I know at least 15 children on the autism spectrum. Their parents all claim that these children were fine until "that last shot." I don't need a study to confirm what my friends experienced.
My granddaughter's autistic behavior began coincident with her vaccines for childhood diseases. So I am sympathetic with those who choose to delay or abandon suggested immunizations for their own children.
Much has been published regarding the relationship between autism and vaccination -- most supporting the theory that no cause-and-effect relationship exists. However, credible dissenters dispute this theory with evidence that should give parents reason to pause and investigate further.
Until a sound reason can be found for the apparent autism epidemic prevalent today, caution and education on the part of parents are warranted.
As a registered nurse and mother of two, this issue has always raised feelings of aggravation in me.
The herd mentality of so-called well-educated parents who "question traditional knowledge" makes me grit my teeth. Yes, parents should have the right to make decisions about vaccination. But relying on the majority of families to vaccinate their children so that a few can withhold vaccines from their kids is not only unfair but unwise.
I cannot believe the mother who said she would rather "sit with her child in the hospital" than have him or her vaccinated. A child who is hospitalized with a 106-degree fever is more likely to suffer brain damage and death than an immunized child is likely to face a serious vaccine reaction.
Maybe seeing children permanently disabled by polio again might cause some reconsideration.
I started school in 1947 in Germany. There were no vaccinations there at the time, so I contracted most childhood diseases. Rubella, mumps, chicken pox and scarlet fever were not too bad -- measles, on the other hand, was. A high fever caused me to hallucinate for several days. The worst was whooping cough. I was unable to breathe. I just coughed and coughed until I threw up.
Any mother who refuses to have her child vaccinated obviously has no idea how traumatizing those childhood diseases can be. After 60 years, I still remember how sick I was and how awful I felt.