To the Editor:
Back in the early 30s, when I was getting ready to enter kindergarten in the Hartford, Connecticut public schools, I was vaccinated for smallpox - a truly horrible, lethal disease. In those days the rule was that either you got vaccinated for smallpox, or you were not allowed to enter the public school system - no exceptions!
At the same time there were a number of other childhood diseases that were common then, including measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough, scarlet fever and rubella. There were no antitoxins for them then, so the result was that most kids got all of those diseases and survived them. In my case, I got all but one - mumps. I didn’t get that until I was 19 and in the Army, overseas during WWII. While all of them are inconvenient and are a nuisance, they were and are seldom fatal.
I remember that during my childhood, it was common practice that when a mother determined that a neighbor’s child had measles, she would take her own children over to that neighbor’s house and purposely get them infected with the measles, so as to get it over with.
In the meantime, medical science and research have come up with antitoxins for some of these ills, which prevent them from happening. Recently there has been much notoriety in the media about making measles vaccine mandatory for children. Incidentally, the measles of today are no different from the measles of 100 years ago. So, the question that arises is, should measles vaccination be made mandatory for children? Based on history and my experience, I would say, “No”!
The amount of attention that the measles vaccine has received in the media suggests a strong influence from the marketing arms of the vaccine manufacturers and lobbyists. Making it mandatory for children would result in a huge financial windfall for them. That likelihood should be considered by readers.
Irving W. Glater