As a former school nurse and as a grandmother, I read the news about the measles outbreak in Washington state and Oregon with great concern.

During my 27 years working as a nurse at Maranacook Community High School, I saw a troubling increase in vaccine exemption rates. Maine has the seventh-highest non-medical exemption rate in the country, 5.3 percent.

Low vaccination rates put Maine children at risk for diseases that are entirely preventable. This is especially scary for children with suppressed immune systems, such as those with childhood cancer.

Public schools must be a safe place for children to learn, and outbreaks of preventable diseases interfere with individual student learning and can be disruptive for teachers and parents.

We always buckle our granddaughter in her car seat before taking car trips and would never leave her in the car alone. These are common-sense safety practices. So is making sure that she is fully vaccinated.

What is happening in the Northwest could happen here in Maine. There are so many things in life that we cannot control but this is one we can. That is why I urge everyone to support L.D. 798 to remove non-medical exemptions from school vaccine requirements.


Sandy Hunter


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