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JUNE 2003
Volume 95, Issue 5

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It might sound ridiculous, but “potty parity” is an issue…

Survival tactics
The article “Survival of the Richest” by John Easton (April/03) makes some interesting points, both with respect to the interaction of medical technology with personal behavior as well as the influence of social status and education on health.

However, the most interesting topic was the effect of social efficacy, “community-level prevention that attempts to change social environments.” Somehow that sounds a lot like “it takes a village to raise a child.”

Werner Zimmt, PhB’47, BS’47, PhD’51
Tucson, Arizona

Survival of the Richest” misrepresents a number of public-health issues. Quarantining an immunized animal for months to guard against rabies is not “overzealous,” it is in fact poor public-health practice that doesn’t conform to accepted recommendations. As for “mandatory vaccination,” every state allows exemption from childhood immunization based on either medical or religious grounds, and some allow them on a philosophical basis as well. The option of “the wealthy buying their way out” does not exist. Courts have repeatedly upheld school vaccination requirements as being of benefit to society because of their key role in preventing disease outbreaks.

Sorry to throw a wet blanket on an otherwise informative article, but in the future I would suggest that the author (and others tackling public health–related topics) seek opinions of public-health practitioners. They may be as close as your county health department.

John Iskander, AB’86

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