Thank you to the Star Tribune Editorial Board for publishing “State should crack down on doctors who sow, abet vaccination doubts” (July 17).
Along with other parents concerned about pockets of vaccine refusal, I have visited many lawmakers over the years to ask them to act in order to protect our children. With rogue doctors encouraging vaccine refusal and a school vaccine requirement that is easier to opt out of than fulfill, kids all over the state are at risk — and not just for measles!
However, the antivaccine movement in Minnesota is politically connected and well-funded. Lawmakers hesitate to act because the movement is unrelenting in its engagement. Fortunately, more and more lawmakers are unafraid to stand up to their misinformation. If more people get engaged, I am certain we will protect all Minnesota kids against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Karen Ernst, St. Paul
The writer is founder of the Minnesota Childhood Immunization Coalition.
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Once again, the Star Tribune Editorial Board is unrelentingly pushing for mandatory vaccinations. It is absurd, and willfully ignorant, to do so without regard for the very valid reservations and adverse effects that surround vaccinations — to pretend risks do not exist or that any other ideas in the discussion are not worth hearing makes the argument completely despotic. It is especially scary to suggest that those who do wish to vaccinate but on an altered schedule should be called out and punished.
There is, of course, wide-ranging research on the benefits of delaying or spacing out vaccinations for children — not all vaccines are needed at the current recommended ages. So, who is going to decide which vaccines are necessary and at what ages? Which research is going to be favored? The billion-dollar pharmaceutical research as usual? We overvaccinate for diseases that are not life-threatening and deprive our children of acquiring immunity naturally, which is superior to vaccine immunity. We give vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases to infants hours after birth that are not needed until later in life. We give triple the amount of vaccines to kids under 6 than our parents did.
We question absolutely everything else in this society — what is good for us vs. bad for us; we look at the up and the down, the left and the right, every angle, every perspective — but for some reason with vaccines we are told not to ask any questions or believe any type of research that doesn’t fall in line with a specific, questionable set of conclusions.
The Editorial Board is vehemently in support of bodily autonomy in all other aspects of life. It should also respect the basic human right of people and parents to choose how and when potentially dangerous chemicals are injected into their bodies.
Margaret Parler, Excelsior
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There are many reasons parents should retain control over vaccines given to their children. Parents know when their child has had a past adverse reaction to a vaccine. The vaccine schedule is a one-size-fits-all approach, but we know that medical procedures are highly personal and can affect different people differently. If we are to have mandatory vaccines and hand the pharmaceutical industry a windfall, then we should hold them responsible for producing safe vaccines. Currently, they are exempt from liability from injuries caused by vaccines.
Steve Johnson, Eagan
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Thank you for the editorial highlighting the risks caused by Minnesota’s weak immunization laws, in particular the section calling on legislators to close the loopholes in Minnesota statute. Minnesota’s physicians wholeheartedly agree. It’s time to tighten Minnesota’s law by closing the current loophole that allows parents to express a conscientious objection to vaccines. Exemptions should only be allowed for medical contraindications. By allowing broad exemptions, current state law puts all Minnesotans — especially those most vulnerable, such as newborns, those with compromised immune systems and seniors — at serious risk for preventable disease and death.
The 2017 measles outbreak should have been enough of a crisis to compel legislators to act. Dozens of children were sickened. It is the role of the Legislature and public policy to help protect the health of all Minnesotans — we urge action now, before another vaccine-preventable outbreak occurs.
Dr. George Schoephoerster and Dr. Lori DeFrance
The writers are presidents, respectively, of the Minnesota Medical Association and of the Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A number without context
The July 18 article “Advice bounces off parents” states that trampolines are responsible for 90,000 emergency room visits a year. This is a “naked number” that sounds scary, but is basically meaningless without some more context. How many people jump on a trampoline each year? How long do they spend jumping? How does this accident rate compare with other activities such as biking, swimming or skateboarding?
Sean Foley, Richfield
Just a thought …
I completely disagree with a comment in the July 16 article “The shrinking maternity leave” that stated: ”Unless we expect every father to take leave [after a new baby arrives], we shouldn’t expect every mother should.”
My thought is this: Only the fathers who are pregnant for nine months and then give birth should take leave, at least until the baby sleeps through the night. The other fathers do not need it.
Joan M. Feinberg, Edina
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Athletics and priorities
Chip Scoggins (“Athletics must be vital part of search,” July 17) writes that the next University of Minnesota president must see Gopher athletics as important as the U’s original mission. Yes, producing television programming for profit by exploiting student-athletes so a few coaches and athletic administrators can make big bucks is as important as education and research? Once again, TV corrupts everything it touches.
Robert Kaul, Minneapolis
To trust or not to trust
Would that be the same U.S. intelligence community that brought us the Iraq war due to Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction? This little blip in U.S. intelligence caused more than 4,000 U.S. military deaths and more than 30,000 wounded, not to mention over 100,000 Iraqi deaths.
Bruce Granger, West Concord, Minn.
Can’t keep that ball
From the Helsinki presser:
Putin: “I’ll give this ball to you, and now the ball is in your court. All the more that the U.S. will host the World Cup in 2026.”
Trump: “Thank you. We do host it, and we hope to do as good a job. That’s very nice. That will go to my son Barron. We have no question. In fact, Melania, here you go.” (Laughter)
Sorry, folks. The soccer ball is yet another foreign emolument prohibited by the Constitution. Barron, or whoever has it, must turn it over to the U.S. government in order to avoid implications of undue conflict of interest. Other presidents have complied when they have received even small gifts from foreign dignitaries.
Wayne Bjorlie, West St. Paul