Letters to the Editor

Let’s get real on vaccines

Re “Kids’ education will be fine under vaccination bill” (Editorials, April 17): I don’t know how or when the personal belief exemption for vaccinations came to be, but it is high time it was stopped.

Our state does not exempt children from an education if a parent’s “personal belief” is that they don’t need one, when, arguably, it hurts only the child involved. Why, then, should we allow exemptions from vaccination, when it clearly puts others at risk? By the way, vaccination immunity is not lifelong, so many of us who were vaccinated as children could now be susceptible if exposed.

I suggest vaccination be made mandatory and enforced by making it a condition to enrollment in any school, including home schools. Home schools must already meet certain requirements. I have a strong belief in civil liberties, but only when they do not cause harm to others.

Dr. Craig Pfeiffer, Carmichael

Vaccinations are responsible

Thank you for the editorial in favor of increasing vaccination in our state. Vaccinations are safe and effective, but inaccurate information has generated fear and misunderstanding about Sen. Richard Pan's legislation. SB 277 is admirable and scientifically sound, and allows for medical exemptions for those who are judged to be at higher risk for adverse reactions.

Blanket religious exemptions have been shown to be difficult to enforce, as it is impractical to require proof of religious belief or affiliation. As a wide majority of parents do vaccinate their kids, we hope our legislators will side with the scientific and medical evidence to promote the health of all kids and the public.

Dr. John Maa and Steve Heilig,

San Francisco Medical Society

Anti-vaxxer hysteria

Re “Vaccine bill stirs up ‘hornet’s nest’” (Page A1, April 17): The Legislature should listen to the advice of the medical profession and public health officials. The anti-vaxxer minority is certainly passionate, but they are dead wrong. Current law has led to a situation where some parents have been unduly entitled to project their excessive fears onto their children, increasing preventable disease risks to everybody.

It is interesting to observe that this issue, fed by hysteria, has grown to become a major test of our state’s elected public officials. I applaud Sen. Richard Pan, a doctor, for his leadership and courage in standing up for science and common sense. I hope that his legislative colleagues will not be intimidated into inaction on this question.

William Wade Keye, Sacramento

Issue isn’t about safety

In this new story and others, those who chose not to vaccinate their children are made out to be ignorant and selfish. This issue is not about the safety of our children but about the distribution of money to the various institutions.

If we give up our rights to choose what we believe is best for our own bodies – not to mention the delicate balance of a child’s body – we will lose yet another freedom this country was founded on. The obvious question is, if vaccines are so safe and effective, why do people worry about those who choose not to vaccinate their children? If what they say is true, the vaccinated child should be safe from the disease in question.

Sandy Penley, Gold River

Pan should keep pushing

To say that I was stunned to read that Sen. Richard Pan’s bill was stalled at committee level is an understatement. It’s appalling, and Pan should be encouraged to keep pushing. Parents fighting vaccinations are claiming that their rights to raise their children are being taken away. Not true. They are being given choices of finding another educational venue or to home school.

With 36 years in public schools, most as a site administrator, it was not unusual for parents to complain or threaten to leave the school system. Issues included the science curriculum, discipline, bathroom configurations or teacher assignments. In most cases, given a choice, most parents stayed, even if disappointed. At this point, what are the standards: science, anecdotes, fear or which way the wind is blowing?

Dan Rott, Woodland

Vaccines are good science

I am very frustrated by the Legislature, especially the Senate Education Committee and its reluctance to fulfill the commitment to parents. The legislators’ reluctance to pass SB 277 essentially gives anti-vaccine groups free rein to disobey this reasonable, science- and public-health-based law without consequences, while law-abiding, science-literate parents are left to face the consequences of others’ ignorance or willful denial. Vaccines are good science. Legislators should commit to reality and let deniers face the unintended consequences.

Debra Lilly, Elk Grove

A vaccination compromise

Re “Foes delay vaccine measure” (Page A1, April 16): As a parent and grandparent, I can readily see both sides of the controversial vaccination issue, and everyone wants to do what’s right. Politics don’t, or shouldn’t, play a role in deciding the health needs of our children.

With a number of schools closing in the Sacramento area and elsewhere, why not bring some of them back to life by offering a public or charter school program for the unvaccinated? The classrooms, playgrounds, cafeterias and gymnasiums are already there, and it would seem to me to be a solution for an issue that concerns every parent in this state.

Sally Dishman Smock, Sacramento

Feeling like a water pawn

Re “More almond groves planted” (Page A1, April 17): I read about farmers planting more water-thirsty almonds, and a few days ago I read about new developments in Folsom, Natomas and Placer County. In the editorial section, I read about neighbor turning against neighbor because their lawns are green. The general public gets 20 percent of the water used by humans, and anything we save is used as a justification to build houses and plant more trees. The big monied interests, farmers and builders, are using us as pawns to get the water they need to make big money.

Paul Kelly, Granite Bay


Find them at:



Online form (preferred):


Other: Letters, P.O. Box 15779,

Sacramento, CA 95852

150-word limit. Include name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, brevity and content.