I am 86 years old. My parents were vaccinated. I, my husband and all our siblings were vaccinated. All our children and grandchildren were vaccinated.

Do any of your readers ever wonder how come smallpox is not around anymore?

All my children and grandchildren routinely received the shots against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus at the age of 3 months.

In the year my twins were born, the availability of the Salk anti-polio vaccine was announced. You cannot imagine my relief that every summer we could now go to the beach and not have to worry about the chance of a chill leading to polio.

As for measles, mumps and chicken pox, we have all had them as youngsters. Therefore, we are covered. Luckily, we were also unaware that these diseases acquired in childhood posed an ensuing health problem. Yes, you do need a little luck in life.

So you see, there are risks both ways. One is personal; the other is communitywide. Do you have the right to jeopardize the health of the community due to your irrational fears generated by people with no medical knowledge?

Risk is everywhere. Don’t jeopardize your children’s individual health by not taking a sensible doctor’s advice. Having mumps as an adult is a serious matter.

Nothing provokes me as much as willful stupidity. You can’t protect your children from everything. But at least, when offered protection from known diseases, take advantage. Don’t listen to the willfully ignorant.

Barbara Lee Chertok