Letters: Vaccines; GOP Fact Check

Michele Norris and Melissa Block read emails from listeners.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host: It's time now for your letters. And first, one correction. Yesterday, we aired a story from NPR's Planet Money team about how Germans view interventions by central banks. The piece incorrectly quoted a former German banking official as criticizing the bond-buying program of the European Central Bank. In fact, he was criticizing the bond-buying program of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

MICHELE NORRIS, host: And now to your emails. Earlier this week, we checked in with a school in northeast Seattle, where the rate of child vaccinations is below average. In that story, we heard from pediatrician David Grossman, who says this reluctance among parents to vaccinate their children is a new phenomenon.

Dr. DAVID GROSSMAN: Everyone had this common assumption, a shared agreement, that this is a public health good, that this is important for protecting not only my child but also my neighbor's children and other children, and that we're all in this together. That assumption can no longer be assumed.

NORRIS: And that change troubles William Culbert, a physician from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He writes: The American Academy of Family Physicians calls childhood vaccinations one of the most cost-effective medical interventions ever devised. Of all the misappropriation of resources in medicine, it is surprising that established childhood vaccinations are still a subject of debate.

BLOCK: Fellow Tennessean Paula Sarut lives in the community of Chuckey and is a mother of two. Like many parents, she struggled with the decision to vaccinate her kids. And after much research, decided to get some shots but not others.

NORRIS: She writes: I was disappointed that the story didn't cover more of the possibilities that are available. It's generally not presented as though the public has the capacity to make informed and intelligent decisions, just says do this or else. Sarut concludes: I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I am discerning and pragmatic when it comes to what I believe and therefore what I choose and how I act.

BLOCK: Also this week, we had the editor of PolitiFact.com on the program, Bill Adair, to do a little truth-squadding of Monday's GOP presidential debate, to which David Harter of Morrisville, North Carolina, says: Kudos. He goes on to write: In this age of Internet access, it's embarrassing how lazy we've become and how willing we are to believe any and everything we hear. Perhaps the candidates will take notice of this trend and start doing their own fact-checking.

NORRIS: Well, in this age of Internet access, our inbox is always open. So please keep writing. Go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us.

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