The most recent election included a referendum in regards to vaccines [Oak Park not taking action on vaccine referendum,, Nov. 3]. It was written in such a manner as to imply that vaccines are not safe and may be “toxic.” It implied that information is not given or available to patients and therefore we need a referendum. It is worded in such a way as to create fear. It isn’t just about giving patients a package insert.

The Center for Disease Control, Institute of Medicine and Food and Drug Administration are charged with protecting the public health and weigh the value of many medical therapies, vaccines included. The vaccines have been found safe in many scientific studies. The risks of the vaccines should be weighed against the risk of the diseases they prevent. For example, in California recently there have been deaths related to pertussis – a vaccine-preventable disease.

I hope that physicians will speak up and be heard about the importance of vaccines. It is a matter of protection of the public health. We, physicians, are here to listen to patients’ questions and willing to discuss the vaccines.

I encourage the public to be educated and read information from the CDC, American Academy of Pediatricians and American College of Physicians. There is a lot of emotionally laden debate regarding vaccines. It is because vaccines have been found safe and theories regarding autism have been disproved that now these anti-vaccine groups are appealing directly to the public. However, this discussion should continue in the scientific arena, but not in such an inflammatory and misleading referendum. Be aware of the fear that anti-vaccine groups are infusing into our community. The verbiage of the referendum was irresponsible. However, there is a small minority that will always, in the words of Stephen Colbert, “keep fear alive.”

Joanna Ortiz
Oak Park
Infectious disease physician%uFEFF

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