I would like to add a personal note to the vaccination discussion that might just possibly influence some parents who do not believe in vaccination.

Parents of young children these days were not alive when we did not have vaccinations against polio and the common childhood diseases. As a child in the 1930s, I was sick for most of the school year with whooping cough, mumps and then measles. Our house was quarantined. No child was allowed to visit, and I could not leave. My brother was sent away to live with grandparents.

I spent most of the year in bed, did not go to school and so was held back one year. I was lucky, for there were no long-term consequences. One of my cousins was not so lucky – she got polio and was left with severe leg atrophy, weakness and a limp.

Unless there is a medical reason not to do so, have your children vaccinated. Childhood diseases can be serious and have long-standing consequences.

Lawrence M. Leonard, M.D.


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