Why we vac­ci­nate

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION - Si­mon J. Si­mo­nian, MD

Re “Vac­cine bill op­posed by black group,” June 23

In 1798 in Eng­land, Ed­ward Jen­ner de­vel­oped the vac­cine against small­pox. For 217 years, ev­i­dence- based med­i­cal science has shown the life- en­hanc­ing and life­sav­ing ben­e­fits of im­mu­niza­tion by vac­ci­na­tion.

In the past, in­jus­tice against cer­tain groups of peo­ple oc­curred in the name of med­i­cal re­search, as a Na­tion of Is­lam leader has noted, and we are pro­foundly sorry. But for in­jus­tice never to hap­pen again, it is es­sen­tial to have col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween spir­i­tual lead­ers and sci­en­tists.

Also, im­mu­nity by vac­ci­na­tion can erad­i­cate dis­ease. In the 1950s at the Univer­sity of Lon­don, Dou­glas McLean, Les­lie Col­lier and I de­vel­oped the first freeze- dried, heat­stable small­pox vac­cine. It was used by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion to erad­i­cate small­pox be­tween 1967 and 1977, sav­ing 2 mil­lion lives each year.

Pa­cific Pal­isades The writer is for­mer di­rec­tor of the im­munol­ogy unit at Har­vard’s Peter Bent Brigham Hos­pi­tal.

Who is the Na­tion of Is­lam’s Tony Muham­mad, who told Cal­i­for­nia leg­is­la­tors not to sup­port a vac­ci­na­tion bill? How old is he? How much ed­u­ca­tion does he have? Does he have chil­dren? Who is he to tell par­ents that they should not have their chil­dren vac­ci­nated? What is his science back­ground?

If Muham­mad was born af­ter 1950, he has no knowl­edge of po­lio and what a killer it was.

I would like to tell Muham­mad just how far off base he is.

Betty Stewart


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