I want to clarify misleading comments in the article Tuesday titled “Maine CDC director supports strengthening state’s vaccine laws.”

It is accurate to report that both Dr. Christopher Pezzullo, Maine’s chief health officer, and I support vaccination and the education of parents that informs their decision-making.

However, reporter Joe Lawlor inaccurately leaped to the conclusion that I endorse specific, previously proposed legislation that places requirements on parents who seek a philosophical exemption.

As I stated to the Press Herald, any legislation that encourages dialogue between providers and parents that reinforces the importance of vaccines and the low risk associated with them, and positions the parent to make an informed decision, is worthy of consideration.

However, the proposed legislation went much further and, if passed into law, parents seeking a philosophical exemption would be legally required to visit a doctor, undergo counseling and obtain paperwork proving they had done so. It also mandated parents to produce that paperwork to schools and day cares where the child enrolls.

These additional steps create a heavy-handed and unnecessary burden for providers, parents and schools and may have the unintended consequence of strengthening the opposition of parents who do not support vaccination.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention will continue to do all it can to educate about the importance of vaccination because it offers the best protection against many deadly diseases. We recognize the critical importance of informed consent while also acknowledging parental rights.

Kenneth Albert

director and chief operating officer, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention