The Nov. 26 Sentinel reported that cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, are down in Maine in 2022. In 2019, there were over 28 cases per 100,000 with pertussis. In 2020, Maine voters approved a law removing vaccine exemptions for philosophical and religious reasons. That included vaccines for pertussis.

In 2022 there were only 7 cases of pertussis per 100,000. That’s 75% fewer cases than three years before the law was passed. It appears that the removal of vaccination exemptions worked very well. Many lives were saved.

People who are against vaccines have been complaining that making them get a vaccine is an infringement on their rights. And it’s true. One has the right to get sick or even die, if one wants to.

However, no one has a right to cause the illness or death of another by what they do or they don’t do. If anyone refuses a vaccine and they don’t care about their own health, that’s their right. But if their not getting vaccinated causes another to be ill or die, then it is the right of the state to intervene on behalf of those who are victimized by anyone’s lack of cooperation in the effort to preserve health and life of others.

I had whooping cough as a kid. I still remember how I suffered. My parents and I were extremely grateful when the anti-pertussis vaccine came out.

Peter P. Sirois


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