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Weigh the pros and cons of vaccinations

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With interest and sympathy I read [the Courier-Observer] April 13 cover story, “Local Man Urges NNYers to get Vaccinated.” The tragedy of Mr. Martin and his family is a sad story that touches the heart.

Yet, as with all stories, there are at least two sides. Since Mr. Martin is going to make a presentation to raise awareness and promote the flu vaccine, I feel compelled to give another side so that people can make a truly informed choice.

I want to focus on an article in October 2004 in the National Post, Canada, which reported on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presentation to the American Medical Association. The presentation was titled “Getting Ready for 2004-2005: Lessons Learned including the Seven-Step Recipe for Generating Interest in, and Demand for, Flu (or any other) Vaccination.”

Among other things recommended to medical and public health authorities were “continued reports that flu is causing severe illness and or affecting lots of people ... and visible/tangible examples of the seriousness of the illness to motivate” vaccination.

The article states that the studies haven’t been done that show the vaccine saves countless lives at virtually no risk, nor are there studies that show evidence of the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in the general population. Thus, no one knows the medical benefit or harm to healthy people caused by flu shots.

I urge everyone to check out the pro and con information before getting a vaccine and to find out other ways to boost the immune system. One site people can visit is National Vaccine Information Center’s website at www.nic.com.

Bonnie P. Franz

Ogdensburg

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