In the letter "Weigh risk-benefit of vaccination" [March 11], three Stony Brook University graduate students seem to be quoting from their public health textbooks. They say that vaccines have been shown to be "overwhelmingly safe and effective." Oh really? Is that why the government has removed all liability from the vaccine makers for damages caused by their products? The government also created a "vaccine court," where those damaged must plead their cases. This court has paid out about $2.9 billion.

The letter writers only name mild rash or fever as side effects from the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. If they had taken time to look at the Centers for Disease Control website, they would see these other side effects: long-term seizures, deafness, coma, permanent brain damage and severe allergic reaction that can cause death.

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Lawsuits based on testimony from two former Merck scientists say that Merck falsified the effectiveness of the mumps portion of the MMR vaccine to gain market share. Placing blind trust in companies that are profit-driven and have no liabilities to face is foolish.

The writers claim that not vaccinating risks transmission of disease. It's also true that for several weeks or even months after many vaccinations -- including the MMR -- a person can transmit a disease to others, the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. So it may be that the vaccinated individuals are the very transmitters of "life-threatening disease."

Ken Vatter, Centereach