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Issue Number 240            April 25, 2001

UNPROTECTED PEOPLE: Stories of people who have suffered or died from vaccine-preventable diseases

Story #39:


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The article "Vaccine's Safety, Morality Hit Home for Girl's Parents" by Bill Snyder appeared in the September 17, 2000, edition of THE TENNESSEAN. It tells the story of Suzanne and Leonard Walther of Murfreesboro, Tenn., who had such serious concerns about the safety and morality of vaccination that they put off immunizing their infant daughter until they had answers to their questions. In the meantime, unfortunately,their daughter contracted Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), a vaccine-preventable disease.

Their daughter recovered, but the Walthers' experience led them to search further for answers to their questions. In the end they concluded that the benefits of vaccination far outweighed the risks. Suzanne Walther said, "I don't want my child to be the one in 3 million" children who suffers a potentially fatal reaction to a vaccine, "but I also don't want mine to be the one in 10 that dies if they get the disease."

To read the full story on the website of THE TENNESSEAN, go to:

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) has published this story for the purpose of making it available for our readers' review. We have not verified the story's content, for which the author is solely responsible. The views reflected in this story are the writer's and do not necessarily reflect the position of IAC.

To read "Unprotected People" stories that were previously published in IAC EXPRESS, visit:

IAC is collecting stories of people who have suffered or died from vaccine-preventable diseases. Please let us know if you have personal stories, or if you know of stories that have appeared in the media, that describe the suffering that occurred because someone wasn't immunized. In addition, we are also collecting case reports to help us illustrate the morbidity and mortality caused by vaccine-preventable diseases.

If you have stories or case reports that can help save lives, e-mail them to: or fax them to (651) 647-9131.

About IZ Express

IZ Express is supported in part by Grant No. 1NH23IP922654 from CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Its contents are solely the responsibility of and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.

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Editorial Information

  • Editor-in-Chief
    Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH
  • Managing Editor
    John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD
  • Associate Editor
    Sharon G. Humiston, MD, MPH
  • Writer/Publication Coordinator
    Taryn Chapman, MS
    Courtnay Londo, MA
  • Style and Copy Editor
    Marian Deegan, JD
  • Web Edition Managers
    Arkady Shakhnovich
    Jermaine Royes
  • Contributing Writer
    Laurel H. Wood, MPA
  • Technical Reviewer
    Kayla Ohlde

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