Letters | April 26, 2019

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A Third Reason for Measles Outbreak

I was surprised to read your editorial, “A Measles Resurgence” (April 12). Your piece offered two explanations for “finger-pointing” regarding measles’ spread in the Orthodox community: a) the “anti-vax” philosophy, or b) “that the affected communities are largely unsophisticated and uneducated.”

You notably did not present a third option that is both more obvious and less pejorative. The Orthodox are defined by large families and high levels of social interaction. For happy occasions families will travel between cities, to be hosted by other families for days at a time.


Taken together, these are ideal conditions for measles to find the rare compromised individual. As you see, neither “finger-pointing” explanation is needed or accurate — indeed, the only cases in Maryland are in a family which received all proper doses, but the baby, being merely one year old, contracted measles despite having received his first MMR dose.

Hundreds of Orthodox adults between ages 30 and 62, who likely received only one dose as a child per then-current protocols, stood in line for over 90 minutes last Friday to receive a second booster. Perhaps it is worth considering the obvious explanation over the derogatory ones.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Managing Director, Coalition for Jewish Values, Baltimore

 

Measles: Choosing Not To Vaccinate Ignores Science

Yasher Koach (May You Have Strength) for printing the important editorial regarding the measles outbreaks in several of the Orthodox Jewish communities in New York and New Jersey (“A Measles Resurgence,” April 12). It is indeed horrific that after all the years vaccines have been used to prevent suffering and save lives, there are still parents willfully choosing to ignore medical science and instead risk their child, or themselves, getting a vaccine-preventable disease.

Vaccines were developed to lessen suffering and save lives. They were developed to prevent the outbreaks of diseases which are so dangerous to a community. Vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. There is NO link between the MMR and autism. Autism is genetic.

When you make the uninformed choice to not vaccinate your children or yourself, you are endangering your community. You are directly causing danger and possible subsequent harm to people you know and care about. Let that sink in.

There is a constant need for herd, or community immunity, to keep vaccine preventable diseases from spreading on a larger basis.

Measles, specifically, is extremely contagious and can cause devastating health effects, even death.

For those who travel, you risk EVERYONE you contact in your travels. For those who don’t know, there was a report recently of an airline attendant who was in a coma after contracting the measles on a flight. And yes, the flight was connected to New York.

Measles can kill. Measles killed many people before the advent of the vaccine. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a direct effect of the measles virus. Babies are too young to be vaccinated. Those with compromised immune systems should not be exposed to the measles virus. It can have deadly consequences.

When you choose not to vaccinate you are ignoring decades of medical science and endangering your community. You are causing direct harm. How do I know so much about measles and SSPE? Horribly, I do. Need more information about what happens when community immunity is below protective levels? Want to know what you will see years from now after it seems your child “got over” the measles?

(In memory of Arielle Peninah bas Boaz Baruch ben Avraham Avinu)

Erica Finkelstein-Parker
Littlestown, Pa.

 

Bias With Regards to Immigrant Crisis

Eschewing a topic of Jewish relevance to it’s readership, the JT chose the gratuitously political topic of placing detained immigrants in sanctuary cities (“The Sanctuary Cities Debate,” April 19).

In the guise of fairness, the editorial contains at least three examples of intellectual dishonesty showing the true nature of the political bias of the writer. To wit: 1) using the left’s politically correct term of “undocumented” immigrants rather than the more accurate term of “illegal” immigrants, 2) failing to point out the logic of sending illegal, oops, I mean undocumented immigrants to the sanctuary cities is directly in response to these cities claiming that they welcome these immigrants to their cities (hence their becoming sanctuary cities) and 3) failing to also call out the lack of progress in solving these problems by the Congressional Democratic Party leadership whose sole focus since assuming power has been “hate on Trump” rather than attempting serious discourse and compromise.

Sonny Taragin
Mt. Washington

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