I write in response to the Nov. 25 Maine Millennial column by Victoria Hugo-Vidal. She uses the word “fact” and then makes assertions about vaccinations without any citations to back up her opinion. I would expect the Portland Press Herald to do some fact-checking before the word “fact” is thrown around.

Let’s just look at this statement by Ms. Hugo-Vidal: “Fact: Maine has a terrifyingly low rate of vaccination.”

Actually, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017-2018 Maine School Immunization Assessment Report, vaccine rates for kindergartners are as follows: dtap, 95.3 percent; MMR, 94.3 percent; polio, 95.3 percent, and varicella, 96.3 percent. For first-graders, the rates are: dtap, 96.6 percent; MMR, 96.1 percent; polio, 96.5 percent, and varicella, 97.1 percent. In my view, these numbers indicate a very high vaccination rate for the state of Maine.

Now I will address this statement: “Fact: Vaccines are safe.” The notion of what is safe is a personal decision, based on the information that we have at hand.

Here is some information from the Health Resources and Services Administration (www.hrsa.gov/vaccine-compensation/data/index.html): “For every 1 million doses of vaccine that were distributed, one individual was compensated.” This is referring to financial compensation to families who present claims that their children were injured by the vaccines.

The program that determines who is compensated is called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. This program acknowledges that sometimes children are injured or die from vaccines, and our federal government has created this program to protect the vaccine manufacturers from liability.

For some parents, a one in a million chance of having an injured child is reasonable and, therefore, safe. For other parents, the risk is too high. What is important is for all parents to have real facts to work with. I expect the Portland Press Herald to furnish facts.

Thia Embers

Southwest Harbor


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