Re: “Samuel L. Katz, doctor who helped develop measles vaccine, dies at 95” [Nov. 3, Nation & World]:
I was sad to read about the death of Dr. Samuel Katz. The article included his quote, “People have lost sight of what it is they are being protected from.” That’s very true, and it worries me greatly because measles cases around the world are on the rise.
Measles outbreaks have infected more than 65,000 people in the first nine months of 2022, per the World Health Organization. That’s due in part to declining global vaccination rates. The WHO and UNICEF this summer reported 24.7 million children missed their first measles dose in 2021, 5.3 million more than in 2019. Many don’t realize that measles can be a deadly disease, although this summer a measles outbreak in Zimbabwe killed 700 children.
With infectious diseases, a threat anywhere can become a threat everywhere, and we in the Pacific Northwest know that better than anyone with measles, COVID-19 and RSV. To stop the threat, we must fully fund global vaccination programs at the highest levels. It keeps us safe here at home. I’m grateful U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier have been supportive. Tell them you care about global immunization efforts.
Susan Tyler, Auburn