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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor

Letter: Don’t allow vaccine exemptions

By William J. Gerow Jr., Vancouver
Published: January 30, 2019, 6:00am

It’s high time Washington (and Oregon) join California, Mississippi, and West Virginia and eliminate religious and moral exemptions to child vaccinations. While I hesitate to brand all anti-vaxxers as simple nut cases, it is oh-so-tempting to do so.

The bottom line though is that their freedom to endanger themselves and their own children ends at my and my child’s nose, religious beliefs and philosophical objections notwithstanding. Like it or not, we all live in a large, diverse, complex society, the safe functioning of which requires that we make certain concessions to personal freedom. We can’t choose which side of the road to drive on. We can’t allow people to drive drunk. We can’t allow people to shoot off their guns on a crowded city street just for kicks.

And we shouldn’t allow people to forgo vaccinating their children against highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases simply because they don’t want to. If a single child dies as a result of the current measles outbreak, it’s on their heads alone. A pox on such people, literally.

We encourage readers to express their views about public issues. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for brevity and clarity. Limit letters to 200 words (100 words if endorsing or opposing a political candidate or ballot measure) and allow 30 days between submissions. Send Us a Letter