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Letter: Vaccinate to prevent diseases

Mary Nelson, M.D.

Thank you for bringing attention to the public the low vaccination rate in many corridor schools (“Vaccination rate is below 90 percent at 18 Corridor schools,” Aug. 19).

While parents have the privilege of exempting their children from vaccinations, they have the responsibility of educating themselves about vaccines and the consequences of not immunizing their children and themselves. It is the responsibility of all of us to gain information from credible sources about the development, use and the consequences of not immunizing.

If parents are opting out of immunizations for their children, they likely are not having general physical examinations. Young people have a host of medical and psychological issues that are addressed by regular visits to a health care provider.

Failure to immunize could be considered selfish as it puts innocent people at risk by exposing others to preventable diseases. An example is the measles outbreak at two Disney theme parks. Infants and the immunocompromised are put at risk of disease if they innocently come into contact with someone who has a vaccine-preventable disease because they were not immunized. Meningitis and mumps outbreaks have occurred on college campuses. Epidemics have started on airplanes. If pregnant women develop chickenpox or rubella there can be severe consequences for the unborn.

If the choice is made not to immunize there will be consequences. Diseases will occur; the unknown is when and with what sequelae.

Do yourself, your children and your grandchildren a favor. Immunize now.

Mary Nelson, M.D.

Cedar Rapids

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