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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

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To the Editor:

With all the fast-paced news of this last week, Mashomack Preserve and Sylvester Manor have expanded our hours of operation and our grounds are now open seven days a week.

We invite you and your family to take a stroll through the woods and fields, to enjoy the sights and sounds of spring, and relax.

Trails at Sylvester Manor are open dawn to dusk. Mashomack’s trails are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bathrooms and other buildings at both properties are closed. Whether you’re looking to entertain the kids, get some exercise, or just escape for a little bit, we’re here for you. Good health and blessings to all. Hope to see you on the trails.

Executive Director, Sylvester Manor
Executive Director, Mashomack Preserve,


To the Editor:

Ten years ago, in response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, I co-edited a book: “Pandemics and Emerging Infectious Diseases: The Sociological Agenda” (Wiley-Blackwell) with two Brits, Robert Dingwall and Karen Staniland. It was in response to the tendency to focus on scientific/technical fixes and forget the social/political aspects of origin, spread and mediation, etc.

The book includes an article I wrote on how New York City handled the H1N1: “Urban governance and the NYC H1N1 pandemic.” Compared to today, public health in New York in 2009 was in its prime.

This past week, not surprisingly, our introduction to the book: “Why a sociology of pandemics?” received over 500 hits on line at free access site, ResearchGate.

I am struck by the realization that 10 years ago, we were optimistic. We had revved up a promising public health engine, and New York City was in the lead. There was an understanding that infectious disease was here to stay and we needed to be prepared.

This past week — sad to say — I have heard the same refrain from a physician and from a would-be patient: “Our health care system in the U.S. is broken.”

There is plenty of blame to go around. Hopefully, we will remain well and/or recover so as to vote in the next election. Hopefully, politicians will remember the recent past and prepare us for the future.

Shelter Island
Editor’s note: Ms. Hoffman is Professor Emerita at The Colin Powell School, CCNY & Graduate Center, CUNY.


To the Editor:

I have read with interest your articles concerning mandating HPV vaccine for New York State students.

Though HPV vaccine is not currently required, I fear that your reporting of this issue may represent a negative bias toward the individual and societal benefits of universal HPV vaccination.

To be clear: The HPV vaccine is not just “said” to protect people from HPV; the science behind its effectivity is well-established, irrefutable and freely accessible on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ and Centers for Disease Control’s websites.

HPV vaccine refusers usually fall into two categories: anti-vaccine advocates and/or those who believe that vaccination against HPV gives young people a license to be sexually active. If you fall into the first category, I understand that my words here may not move you to change your beliefs. However, as a pediatrician, an adolescent health specialist, a public health advocate and a parent, I would be surprised if HPV vaccination status ever enters into a young person’s decision whether or not to engage in sexual activity.

I believe that withholding a proven prevention treatment for female and male life-threatening reproductive cancers is tantamount to neglect. I dare say that if vaccines that protected from pancreatic cancer or coronavirus existed, folks would rightly be lined up around the block to be immunized late into each night. Similarly, it is certainly in the public health interest of all New York State residents that HPV vaccine become mandated for our young people as soon as possible.

Withholding HPV vaccination from your child may create a barrier, but not the kind of barrier that can protect them against sexually transmitted infections. The barrier withholding HPV vaccine creates fosters denial and cheats your children from the most effective form of prevention: the open and honest exchange of sexual health information and education provided by informed and trusted role models.

Shelter Island