After reading the vituperative letters in response to Assemblywoman Vandervalk's excellent OpEd piece on vaccination (June 17), I am devastated that we are shutting down the dialogue with vicious name calling. It's through debate that facts are disclosed, beliefs are challenged, alternatives are examined, change and progress occur. Until big questions regarding universal vaccination can be adequately addressed, Ms. Vandervalk is fighting for New Jersey’s right to have a choice. Too many people feel entitled to summarize topics of great complexity without offering a balanced assessment nor admitting where science has not kept up with our desire to believe in this last sacred cow of public health policy.
Is it possible that we do not fully understand every mechanism of the miraculous human body and that we therefore have not foreseen all the ramifications of our expanding decision to inject entire generations of children with more pathogens and toxins than ever before in the history of the world? Do not think for one moment that vaccination is a simple medical procedure. It is entwined into our medical, societal, political, state and federal governmental and industry systems with billions of dollars at stake. But please don't worry about the man behind the curtain. It's much easier to believe you are protecting your precious babies with every vaccine that modern man can concoct. So hang on for the ride, because there are 70 shots on the CDC schedule and 350+ vaccines under development.
If Jill Stoller traced disease rates since the 1800s, she would find that deaths fell substantially, nearly disappearing before mass immunization was even introduced. Disease was spread by overcrowding, malnutrition and raw sewage in the streets. Disease was halted through improved sanitation and hygiene. And yes, Irwin Berkowitz, these diseases are prevalent in other parts of the world, but only because developing countries do not benefit from the health and sanitation infrastructure that we take for granted in America.
As for Dr. Stoller’s assertions that vaccines don’t cause autism, she should have called Dr. Julie Gerberding, who admitted last week that the methodology used in CDC safety studies was flawed http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/cdc-vaccine-study- design_b_108398.html or Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the NIH and current IOM member who said last month that our government fails to study vaccine-injured populations because they are afraid of what they might find. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/12/cbsnews_investigates/main4086809.shtml
Dr. Stoller further asserts that 85% of children must be vaccinated or diseases will return. Why aren’t there raging epidemics among adults who are notoriously undervaccinated? We have forgotten that measles and chickenpox were never deadly. Many adults get shingles today because chickenpox is no longer prevalent and we aren’t naturally boosted through periodic, benign exposure. Good thing there’s now a herpes zoster shot, 14x stronger than Varivax and, incidentally, recommended by the CDC. Until we do the long-term, controlled studies, we will never have the answers we need. Gardasil was fast-tracked through the FDA so quickly that they didn’t do efficacy testing for 11-year-olds. We don't even know how long its immunity lasts. Let’s admit that the system is not protecting our children.
I ran marketing for a top global investment firm. As someone who commissioned market research, I know that data can be manipulated to tell a story. There are no short cuts in life. We have to roll up our sleeves and do the work. Today, we no longer hear that "More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette." It took our government thirty years to stand up to Big Tobacco. Our children don't have thirty years.
Louise Kuo Habakus
Middletown, New Jersey
June 24, 2008