To the Editor:
It is important for Island parents to remember that as their children were making their way through the Island’s public school system, they received routine immunizations from the public health nursing agency with which their town’s board of health contracted. This included the MMR vaccination.
Resistance to having children immunized was precipitated by studies stating that the use of the organomercury compound thimerosal, used in extending the shelf life of MMR vaccines, may contribute to, or exacerbate, disorders on the autism spectrum when administered to the very young. While the findings of these studies have, for the most part, been widely disproven, some parents still refrain from having their children vaccinated due to largely unfounded fears. As reports this week point out, Martha’s Vineyard has a disproportionately large number of such parents, thereby leading to the disproportionately high risk for infection and transmission on the Island.