I am a parent who fully supports the common goal of keeping our children and others safe. I have a child who I chose to vaccinate from birth on an alternate schedule with the blessing of our family doctors.

At age 3, my son suffered Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP) — a commonly reported adverse reaction to vaccines, including the MMR, chicken pox, and meningitis shots. He was hospitalized and almost didn’t survive this disease, which has no known biomarkers to indicate a predisposition.

An entire team of doctors praised us for choosing a delayed schedule and suggested we never administer the MMR vaccine. We trusted them. We were never offered a medical exemption. No doctor ever advised me, a young mother of 28, on the necessary steps to receive one. Instead, they suggested we take a philosophical exemption.

Now, 12 years later, we face the loss of our philosophical exemption rights. His pediatrician and his D.O.— both of whom acknowledge my son’s medical history and HSP susceptibility — have never offered to protect his health with a medical exemption.

The new law would force us to risk our son’s health after his serious disease or accept his expulsion from school in his junior year of high school. No law intended to protect the public health should ever put parents in this terrible position.

I will vote yes on Question 1 for my son and other medically vulnerable students.

Melissa Sawyer
South Portland

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