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Dont put all your faith in Western medicine

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Myrian and Alvaro Fontan prepare a homemade pizza for dinner with their daughters Jazmin, 2, and Vanessa, 5. After Vanessa (right) nearly died from whooping cough as an infant just before she was old enough to be vaccinated, the Fontans have become vocal advocates for childhood vaccines. Not all readers, however, agree with the Fontans about vaccinations.

Far too many people put 100 percent of their faith in Western medicine and synthesized drugs (Oregon's vaccine aversion getting national attention, April 22). News flash, people: We are organisms, just as much a part of the fabric of nature as any plant or animal. When we use our big brains to counteract the laws of nature, we inherently create risk and/or complications somewhere else.

Our ability to create metropolises and fuel-burning vehicles is leading to global warming and environmental destruction; our ability to mass produce food through feedlots and genetic engineering is leading to environmental destruction, obesity and other health problems; and our ability to synthesize drugs that target specific illnesses is causing health problems and ensuring that the very viruses and bacteria being targeted will morph into more dangerous and more powerful strains.

We are constantly at war with nature, but eventually nature will win.

Trust me, I'm no hippy-dippy naturalist human-hating vegan tree hugger. I am an avowed objectivist, capitalist, meat-eating rationalist who believes humanity is nature's greatest achievement. But I think it's highly unwise to put all of our faith in an industry that seeks to eradicate bugs rather than foster ways to avoid them or fight them naturally, and stands to profit handsomely from such endeavors.

There are serious consequences to overt vaccination; I recommend proceeding with caution - whether you have full faith in the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community that kowtows to it, or you shun Western medicine entirely and turn to natural remedies.

James M. Gregg

Beaverton

Would you sacrifice a child?

First, it troubles me that the parents of this child in the story didn't seek help right away (Oregon's vaccine aversion getting national attention, April 22). Who could watch their child turn blue and have trouble breathing and not rush to a hospital emergency? They waited so long.

Secondly, why didn't the first doctor recognize what disease it was? Doesn't say a whole lot of good about doctors. Scary, in fact.

I am tired of people blaming so many parents for not vaccinating their children. Many of us did, they forget, and have very sick children as the result. People are so much more informed these days about the dangers of vaccinations and should have a choice in doing it or not.

Also, it's ridiculous to compare something you inject into the body with something you eat - two different kids of mercury, two different ways of getting it in your body, injection being worse.

To that person who talks about the greater good: Oh please, have a child with classic autism - a perfectly normal child who regresses following a vaccination - and then tell about your 'greater good.'

Would you be willing to sacrifice your child?

Maurine Meleck

North Augusta, S.C.

Avoiding vaccines is selfish behavior

A mathematician, I believe his name is John Paulos, points out that in terms of managing risk, an 'individual' is sometimes better off doing things like not being vaccinated (Oregon's vaccine aversion getting national attention, April 22).

The problem is that if enough folks choose not to be vaccinated, then the population at large becomes essentially unprotected because there's an unbroken transmission vector for the diseases through the bulk of the population.

In the presence of such collective results of many 'better' individual (parental) choices - and I note several of those schools are way past that point - what appears to be a good individual (parental) strategy becomes collectively a very 'bad' strategy.

Further, at that point, those who make what appears to be the 'better' individual (parental) choice (from a selfish, self-centered perspective) are both in actuality making a very 'bad' choice and are wantonly placing the population at large at significantly greater risk (epidemic/pandemic) for their own selfish gains.

This is all part of living in a society or culture, as opposed to living in dirt-floor huts somewhere. We are all asked to make adjustments (and yes, sacrifices) that are essential to the greater good, even if, on an individual basis, they are slightly less advantageous.

In the end, I wonder how all these smug parents would feel had their own parents chosen not to have them vaccinated, and had they then caught one of those nasty childhood diseases as an adult themselves and had the (sometimes very bad) consequences (sterility, neurological problems, disfiguring skin issues, etc.) of contracting childhood diseases as adults.

Lance Delo

Bothell, Wash.

Parents must do their research

I'm sure a cursory study would find a majority of these parents (Oregon's vaccine aversion getting national attention, April 22) have spent weeks and months investigating all sides of this issue before they chose to refuse immunization of their children.

As a grandfather who saw an alert, interactive 2-year-old go autistic after a battery of vaccines, as well as two of my niece's babies battle brain infections that were reactions to a vaccination, I can understand the hesitation of these parents.

Not to mention I worked for a wheelchair-bound bank manager who got there thanks to a flu vaccination. Vaccines are not foolproof.

James Thompson

Grants Pass