Among the public health issues presented to the Maine Legislature’s Health and Human Services committee in Augusta were several bills about immunizations and vaccines.

Particularly important was the discussion about how vaccines prevent communicable diseases like polio, chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis and diphtheria. It was an honor to join my nursing colleagues, along with esteemed health care professionals and consumers, who provided public testimony at the hearing on May 11, to support pro-vaccine legislation, especially the provisions in LD 471 “An Act to Improve Childhood Vaccination Rates in Maine,” sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanborn of Gorham, who is a physician.

Several of us who testified had the experiences of working during a time when vaccines were unavailable. We recalled when polio and measles epidemics created fear in communities, because of disease complications. Today, vaccines prevent many of the communicable diseases that, fortunately, we seldom see anymore, due to the effectiveness of community immunity, created by vaccinating children.

I urge the Maine Legislature to support legislation to improve the vaccination rates among our children and thereby protect their health, by eradicating vaccine preventable diseases.

Juliana L’Heureux