Question 1 on the March 3 ballot seeks to veto the protective vaccine law passed in 2019. This law requires students to get the normal childhood vaccines except for medical reasons but removes loopholes that permitted non-medical reasons for skipping vaccinations.

Voting no to the veto is crucial to protecting our loved ones who cannot be vaccinated or do not respond to vaccines. I can speak to this struggle as I am a mom to one of those vulnerable children. My son was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition at age 3. His condition and treatment put him at increased risk for complications from many vaccine-preventable diseases and his immune system no longer responds to certain vaccines. As our families’ team of doctors explains, immunocompromised children like my son rely on community immunity, where the majority of their peers are fully vaccinated forming a protective herd around the vulnerable.

As the rate of non-medical opt outs has been increasing every year in Maine, my son becomes increasingly susceptible. Parents who take advantage of exemptions in order to skip routine childhood vaccinations have thrust real, life-threatening consequences on the shoulders of families like mine.

Until this law goes into effect, I will send him to his beloved elementary school with little more than crossed fingers to protect him from the risk the increasing number of unvaccinated peers using philosophical and religious exemptions expose him to. The new law corrects that injustice by protecting all children’s freedom to go to school without the danger of life-threatening contagious illnesses that can be fully prevented.

On March 3 please vote no on Question 1 — vote no to vetoing this life-saving law and no to putting children like my son at risk.

 

Sarah Staffiere

Waterville


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