Letter to the Editor – anti-vax protests

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Dear Editor,

As a person who, as a child, survived measles, German measles, whooping cough, and chicken pox, I well remember these epidemics as well as epidemics of scarlet fever, diptheria, tuberculosis and the most frightening of these, polio. By the time I had my own family, vaccines were available for most, but still not all of these so-called childhood diseases and I was thankful for that. Then came the Salk vaccine and polio was conquered.

I, my children, and my friends with their children lined up happily for the polio vaccine. There were no anti-vax protests, just cheers that the summers to come would not bring the fear that your children could contract polio and be so paralyzed that they had to live in a machine called an “iron lung” just to breathe.

Perhaps one theory that I have read is correct, that anti vax protesters simply have no personal experience with epidemics. They know nothing about the hours spent nursing your children through fevers, sore throats, itching painful rashes, or the well named whooping cough. I can, to some extent understand that some do not know that these were not simple diseases but often had serious side effects that were fatal or they are simply incapable of relating to those fears of past years. However, most adults have themselves had to be vaccinated for these diseases before they could be registered for school so I have been puzzled by their anti-vaccination behaviour.

But when I read that some claim that being denied entrance to public places unless vaccinated is denying them the freedom that our veterans fought for, I am no longer bewildered by this anti-vaccination behaviour but feel downright angry. I am married to a veteran of WWII and the Korean War and have known many veterans and you can take this statement as a fact. Our veterans volunteered to go to war to fight against tyranny and for their country. The pettiness and the lack of any understanding of what happened under a fascist racist government that murdered over six million people is beyond belief.

Shirley Price

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