Vaccine hesitancy is baffling

Many still remember when health officials were searching for a polio vaccine. Of the people who contracted the polio virus, 72 out of 100 didn’t have any visible symptoms although they could spread it to others, however the unlucky 28 could develop paralysis, permanent disability, or death.

The 1940s media was limited to newspapers, radio, or world news at the movie theater during intermission. One news clip I remember showed children with heads sticking out of iron lungs to facilitate their breathing. Later, there were classmates with varying degrees of disabilities, some with limps, others with braces, who maneuvered the hallways.

Everyone had at least one friend or relative who had suffered from polio, including President Roosevelt. I received the polio vaccine in high school. Nobody complained about getting vaccinated, or wanted to wait. I would guess 95% of my classmates stood in line to receive a shot of Salk’s vaccine.

It’s baffling to some of us when we read the push back against the COVID-19 vaccine, the mistrust seems totally unjustified and illogical. Our public health system may have a few flaws but is still one of best in the world.

Childhood diseases in many parts of the world are nonexistent because consistent vaccinations have kept these diseases at bay. I know I should be more patient and respect people’s skeptical reasons for not getting vaccinated, but I can’t muster the patience to comprehend vaccination hesitancy.

Denying the protection of a vaccine, to endanger your own health, the medical community, your family, friends, and fellow human beings, to instead nurse some misguided information is to me a fool’s errand.

Connie Fliegel


Newhouse has integrity and conviction

Loren Culp recently announced his challenge to Dan Newhouse in the 4th District and I’m not sure if we should be laughing or annoyed.

Congressman Newhouse has caught flack since the impeachment vote; and while I don’t completely agree with him, I know he’s a man of integrity and conviction.

Newhouse is no stranger to voting his conscience. In June of 2019, I watched him vote yes on H.R. 6 (the Dream and Promise Act) and come under immense pressure from Republicans all across the country. (I fielded many angry calls to his office.)

He held his head high knowing this vote was the best for our district. Newhouse is a proven problem solver willing to work across the aisle to help our state. He’s been instrumental in recent bills such as Savannah’s Act and the Farmworker’s Modernization bill. Newhouse strives to create a better fourth district. We need more members like him willing to collaborate on the big issues of the day.

While Culp may have catchy slogans, there’s no bite behind the bark. His dismal showing and inability to draw moderates out of the woodwork in 2020 doesn’t bode well for the Republican Party in the future.

At his campaign announcement, Culp claimed that “Republicans are accepting too many compromises.” I hate to tell you Mr. Culp, but if you’re not willing to make compromises, then Congress isn’t the place for you. We need to bridge the divide in this state instead of furthering it.

If you care about Republicans winning in this state, don’t support Culp and instead support Congressman Newhouse, one of the most effective members of congress.

Rowan Parmenter


Bicyclists: follow the rules and be safe

There is a safety issue with bicycle riders that ride on the trails. All bicyclists need to know the rules of the road on trails.

Many newer bike riders are either unaware or don’t follow the safety rules. The rules are the same as vehicles on the road. Bicyclists need to stay to the right unless passing. In advance of passing, announce “passing on your left” or “on your left.” This warns people in front of you to stay to the right so you can pass. Another issue is to abide by the 10 or 15 mph speed limit. It appears that many people who have E-bikes and others go too fast and don’t seem to be following the passing rules.

I have been an avid cyclist for many years averaging 2,000 miles per year. I have seen this and have others telling me the same thing. A few times, I have nearly been hit or run off the trail. My goal here is to improve safety for all pedestrians and bicyclists. The Loop Trail gets real busy especially on the weekends and we all need to be safe.

The other safety issue is wearing helmets. A helmet has saved my life. What are parents telling their kids when the kids wear a helmet but the parents aren’t wearing one? You should lead by example. It is not about speed as you can be going slow and crash. A lot of time the slower crashes cause more injuries. When stopping, stop by the side of the trail as to not block anyone.

If you don’t have a rear view mirror you should get one so you can be more aware of what is going on around you. Fortunately, most E-bikes have headlights, taillights and a computer to let you know how fast you are going and for people to see you better. I have all these features and try to do more of my riding in bike lanes on marked streets in town. I feel safer there.

Keep on riding for fun and health.

Dan Kelly


Are microfibers a future health risk?

Microfibers? Microplastics? If they are minuscule particles, why should we care if they are in the water supply? I have been following the news about the way plastic breaks down into ever-smaller pieces and can now be found everywhere — in the oceans, air, ecosystems, animals, and even in our bodies. If this is the case, then what will happen to future generations being born today? Can these microplastics and microfibers (like fleece) keep accumulating in human bodies? These questions motivated me to research further.

I looked for scientific journal articles and learned that tap water and plastic bottled water in cities on five continents are contaminated with microscopic plastic fibers. Scientists say they are not sure yet what the health risks might be, but experts suspect plastic fibers may transfer chemicals when consumed by animals and humans.

Many clothing manufacturers have moved away from natural fibers that take land and water to grow — cotton crops or rear sheep for wool? Instead, they can buy petrochemicals and turn them into clothes. Our clothes are made from plastics like polyester, nylon, acrylic, and polyamide. So, every time we wash these materials, they shed millions of plastic microfibers which drain from our washing machines through wastewater treatment plants and into the river or the sea. They also accumulate during the treatment process and continue on in biosolids, to fertilize crops.

Many of us are trying to do the right thing and buy products made from recycled plastic bottles to reduce plastic pollution. We need to realize that there are other consequences to ecosystems and human health when these plastic materials degrade. Plastics are made to be indestructible, so even if they are called “single-use” they never really disappear.

I have come to realize that we all live in our own bubble. I am stepping out from my bubble right this minute to reach out to all of you! Government, corporations, manufacturers, retailers, educators, and consumers need to work together towards a solution. We need to be proactive for the sake of future generations.

Elsa Meinig


Want to write a letter to the editor? All letters must include the author’s name, address and telephone number. All letters are subject to editing. The World reserves the right to refuse any letter. Submit letters online at Send letters to The Safety Valve, Box 1511, Wenatchee, WA 98807.