I am a local emergency doctor, and I have been practicing as a physician for over 15 years. I have no financial connections to pharmaceutical companies.

When time allows in our busy emergency department, I ask parents of unvaccinated patients why they chose not to give their children vaccines. I have found that parents who have not vaccinated their children often believe they are protecting them. They choose not to vaccinate because they are worried it is dangerous or unnecessary. Some don’t vaccinate because of religious beliefs. As a father, I recognize their love and intense protective concern for their kids. Why is it that I choose to vaccinate my kids, but these equally caring and dedicated parents choose not to vaccinate theirs?

The science that argues that vaccines save lives and protect people from illness is the same science that argues that antibiotics cure pneumonia or skin infections. It is the same science behind the lidocaine that numbs your skin before I place sutures or the electrical shock that restarts your heart beat when you suffer cardiac arrest. Each of these treatments have risks and side effects. However, we in medicine believe the benefit outweigh these risks and we proceed. Why are vaccines different?

Technically vaccines are not treatment, but instead prevention. Vaccines don’t get credit when they save lives. In many ways, vaccines are a victim of their own success. They have been so effective in doing their job, it is difficult to see how vital they are to our individual and community safety.

I have felt the pain of losing patients to diseases that are preventable. This is particularly hard when children die. Please get informed about vaccines. Trust experts. Please consider my thoughts and vote no on Question 1.

Tim Pieh, M.D.

Rome


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