Letter to editor mandating vaccine

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To the Editor: Re ''Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines'' (front page, March 21): Parental objections to vaccines highlight the fundamental ethical dilemma inherent in all public health initiatives: the often conflicting values of seeking better societal health and preserving individual liberties.Virtually any action taken in the name of public health -- such as mandating vaccinations -- cuts into the individual's right to make such a decision for him or herself. uses cookies to improve performance by remembering your session ID when you navigate from page to page. Please set your browser to accept cookies to continue.Q I own a 9-year-old standard poodle who was vaccinated as a puppy for the normal series of shots.Since then, I have questioned the need for continued vaccination for the different diseases that dogs can come down with.The vaccine debate is further complicated because the decision to abstain from vaccination has strong negative externalities.

Individual parents can — and do — make their own choices about whether to protect their children with vaccines, but when it comes to public policy we have a right to insist that our laws are based on sound science and established facts, not social media conspiracies.This cookie stores just a session ID; no other information is captured.Accepting the NEJM cookie is necessary to use the website.Dianne Odell, age 61, was one of the last polio victims to survive in an iron lung until three years ago, when thunderstorms knocked off the power in Jackson, TN and the back-up generators failed.She died where she’d lived since age 3, in a 750-pound machine.One question remains: Whom will they sue when their children die of preventable diseases? Carl Baum New Haven, March 21, 2008 The writer, a pediatrician, is director of the Center for Children's Environmental Toxicology at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital.

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